Axiata announces to acquisition Nepal’s Ncell just after 3 months of announcing Robi-Airtel merger, Yesterday. Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) announced the expansion of its regional footprint and entry into the Nepal market through the acquisition of its number one mobile operator, Ncell Private Limited (Ncell).
Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Axiata Investments (UK) Limited, Axiata has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with TeliaSonera UTA Holdings B.V. and SEA Telecom Investments B.V. for the 100% acquisition of Reynolds Holdings Limited (Reynolds).
The acquisition of Reynolds for the purchase price of USD1.365 billion plus customary adjustments at closing, effectively secures Axiata an 80% equity interest and controlling stake in Ncell.
Nepal is one of the emerging economies with steady GDP growth in Asia. With a mobile penetration of unique subscribers of 51%, the country has experienced a mobile subscriber growth at an average of 18% from 2012-2014. Ncell is the number one operator in Nepal with a stronghold of close to 57.5% revenue market share and 48.8% subscriber market share.
Post-acquisition, Axiata will have contiguous presence and reach in five key countries across South Asia. Axiata’s combined footprint in South East Asia and South Asia will cover a total population of 1.77 billion1 and further solidify the Group as one of the leading mobile operators in the region with over 280 million customers from 2682 million today.
President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata, Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said, “As with all our investments, we see our entry into Nepal as a long-term strategic move for the Group. At the same time, Axiata is also committed to playing a major part in the development of the country by offering high-speed data connectivity and products in par with its economic progress. Being a responsible corporate citizen and major contributor to the country’s economy is key to our long-term vision.”
Axiata enters the Nepal market with a local partner holding 20% direct local shareholding in Ncell, as required under local law. The partner is an independent party who is familiar to the Group and well versed with the telecommunications industry and regulatory environment in Nepal. The transaction is expected to close by first half 2016.