Chillin' out till it needs to be funded
After a long and fruitless hunt for acquisitions, Singapore Telecommunications is in sight of a growth booster. And going by its involvement in the Bharti Airtel-MTN Group merger talks, it is determined to grab it.
SingTel’s current business model depends on its foreign holdings, including Indian associate Bharti Airtel, to generate profit growth, with operations in Australia and Singapore yielding cashflow. But some of its foreign mobile associates are under pressure from increasing market competition while others are posting losses.
A Bharti-MTN merger would be a godsend for SingTel.A combination of Bharti and MTN would thus be a godsend for the Singapore company — Tuesday SingTel said it will “continue to be actively involved in due diligence and key aspects of the transaction,” emphasizing its interest.
If the $23-billion merger deal goes through, SingTel could own a piece of an outfit that would have more than 200 million subscribers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa combined, generating more than $20 billion in annual revenue. That’s almost twice SingTel’s revenue during the fiscal year that ended March.
Although the deal could dilute SingTel’s holding in Bharti to 19%-20% from the current 30.4%, SingTel could get as much 12% of MTN.