Malaysia's U Mobile plans IPO, $470 mln network expansion - CEO

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 9): Malaysian telecoms company U Mobile is planning an initial public offering as it embarks on a 1.5 billion ringgit ($470 million) network expansion, Chief Executive Officer Wong Heang Tuck told Reuters on Tuesday.

Wong declined to say much the company planned to raise or when it would launch the IPO. Asked about the offering, Wong said: "It depends on where the market is at that point in time... but we are on our way there."

Privately owned U Mobile is Malaysia's fourth largest mobile phone operator by subscriber numbers. Its stakeholders include Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan and Singapore Technologies Telemedia.

Wong said U Mobile expects its revenue to grow 50 percent and market share to rise to 10 percent in 2015 from around 6-7 percent now after the expansion, which will see it add 2,000 new sites to the 4,400 already operating.

The company is planning to expand its network as bigger rivals such as Maxis and Axiata face declining profits mainly due to intense competition. In the second quarter, Maxis said its net profit fell 15.5 percent while Axiata posted a 30.5 percent drop.

Wong said U Mobile's strategy of targeting younger users would help it remain competitive.

"Our value proposition is that we are in the right market segment, especially where most of our subscribers are young. This is the growing market segment," he said.