M1 shares rise again as share­hold­ers ex­plore sale

New Straits Times - - Business -

SIN­GA­PORE: Sin­ga­pore’s small­est pub­licly traded telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany M1 Ltd rose for a sec­ond day af­ter its ma­jor share­hold­ers said Fri­day they were un­der­tak­ing a strate­gic re­view on their in­vest­ments in the phone op­er­a­tor.

Shares of ri­val StarHub Ltd and the M1 own­ers also rose.

Kep­pel Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions & Trans­porta­tion Ltd, Ax­i­ata Group Bhd and Sin­ga­pore Press Hold­ings Ltd were ex­plor­ing op­tions, in­clud­ing a sale of M1, as the city state gears up for a new en­trant into the wire­less mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

M1 shares rose 0.9 per cent to S$2.21 (RM7) as of 12.40pm, on al­most five times its three-month daily av­er­age vol­ume. The stock jumped 7.9 per cent on Fri­day. The op­er­a­tor has slumped 21 per cent from a peak in July last year af­ter it re­ported a drop in profit.

Kep­pel Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions & Trans­porta­tion climbed 2.9 per cent, while Malaysian wire­less car­rier, Ax­i­ata, the big­gest M1 share­holder with a 28.5 per cent stake, added 1.6 per cent on the Kuala Lumpur bourse and Sin­ga­pore Press Hold­ings rose 0.6 per cent.

The po­ten­tial sale of M1 comes as the city state pre­pares for the roll-out of a fourth mo­bile op­er­a­tor with TPG Tele­com Ltd. due to be­gin wire­less ser­vices in the com­ing months.

The reg­u­la­tor has said it wants to in­tro­duce more com­pe­ti­tion in the city state to bring down phone bills and im­prove ser­vices.

“There is no as­sur­ance that any trans­ac­tion will ma­te­ri­alise from such strate­gic re­view or that any de­fin­i­tive or bind­ing agree­ment will be reached,” said Sin­ga­pore Press Hold­ings in a fil­ing to the Sin­ga­pore Ex­change on Fri­day.

Ax­i­ata also re­leased a sim­i­lar state­ment to the Bursa Malaysia ex­change.

The three ma­jor M1 own­ers have jointly ap­pointed Mor­gan Stan­ley Asia (Sin­ga­pore) Pte Ltd as their fi­nan­cial ad­viser in the re­view. Bloomberg

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