Etisalat finalises stake sale in Indonesian telco

UAE telco receives $509m for sale of shares in mobile phone provider XL Axiata
Disposals, Etisalat, Indonesia telecoms

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UAE telco Etisalat, on Wednesday announced that it has finalised the sale of a 9.1% stake in PT XL Axiata, an Indonesian mobile telecommunications provider.

The sale of the 775 million shares to institutional investors capitalised on the recent rally in XL Axiata's stock price and resulted in gross proceeds of AED1.870bn ($509m) for Etisalat, a statement said.

Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, CEO of Etisalat Group said: "The sale is in line with the Group's strategy to focus on our core operations in order to deliver greater value to our shareholders.

"This investment has provided Etisalat with excellent returns and, given its recent performance, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity to crystallise some of the value created."

He added that following the sale, Etisalat retains a 4.2% ownership stake in XL Axiata.

The sale by Etisalat, which invested $440m in Indonesia's third-biggest phone operator nearly five years ago, has been expected for a long time as the UAE firm has failed to expand its partnership with XL Axiata's major shareholder, Axiata Group of Malaysia.

The move highlights the emergence of equity capital markets in Southeast Asia, which has seen a boom in share offerings in Malaysia, Thailand and other markets.

It also follows a surge of nearly 50% in XL Axiata shares in 2012, compared with an 8.7% rise in Indonesia's benchmark share index.

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