DNB stake sale to telcos likely to be done in two months — CEO

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 1): Digital Nasional Bhd's (DNB) 70% stake sale offered to local telecommunications companies is expected to be completed in two months, said the state-owned 5G network special purpose vehicle’s chief executive officer (CEO) Ralph Marshall.

“It is still going through the process, it’s being finalised, the six MNOs (mobile network operators) have signed the reference access offer and they have also signed off on the term sheets, which will then lead to the shareholders' agreement and the subsequently completion of shareholders' arrangement, so that’s expected to take another two months,” he told reporters after attending a special briefing on the national 5G roll-out on Friday (July 1). 

The briefing was attended by officials of the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

“I must say we are very pleased with the cooperation and support of all parties, the MoF, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, the telcos and the people that had to do a lot to make this happen,” he said.

“Because it is actually quite unique. In this iconic situation globally, not many countries in the world would take it as far as we have, and that is because I think both ministries fought very seriously about what they wanted to achieve as an objective for the country, which is let’s mitigate, let’s reduce competition of the infrastructure and promote competition at the services level,” he added.

On Thursday, Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said six local telcos had agreed to take up stakes in DNB ahead of the June 30 deadline, and a total of 70% shareholdings will be spread among them. 

Marshall on Friday said there are also provisions made for arrangements to be done in the event of a merger among the six telcos. 

“They are allowed [to buy] 12%. If they (two of the telcos) merge, they will have 23% to 24%. They [will have to] pay for it. There is a limit as to how far it (telcos’ shareholdings) can go. The policies of DNB, the objective of DNB and the deliverables of DNB will all remain the same,” he said.

Marshall also updated that DNB’s 5G roll-out had reached 25%, and is on track to meet the 40% target by year end.

“It will be there. It will be available. All of Kuala Lumpur, the Klang Valley, big parts of Selangor, Johor and Penang will all have 5G available by the end of this year and soon after the rest of the country,” he said.

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