Axiata’s tower unit Edotco has stated its goal of strengthening its position in its current markets via two or three acquisitions across the next year.
The announcement from Edotco CEO Suresh Sidhu comes a week after the firm scrapped its planned acquisition of 13,000 towers from Pakistan Mobile Communications for $940 million. The company was unable to procure the necessary approvals from the country’s regulator.
Sidhu said: “The priority is to look at the current footprint we are in and look for opportunities to bulk up and add more towers there…Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh are countries of higher interest to us.”
Edotco’s infrastructure portfolio is focused around Central and Southeast Asia, with the company operating 28,000 towers across Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Malaysia’s Axiata Group holds a 62.4% stake in the firm.
Abandoning the acquisition of Pakistan Mobile Communications’ towers had reportedly raised concerns that Edotco’s planned IPO would raise less than its goal of $500 million. However, Reuters reported that Sidhu is relatively relaxed about the timeframe for raising money, as Edotco has reserves of $200 million, having brought in $700 million over the past two years.
Sidhu added that acquiring the towers in Pakistan would have drawn from this reserve funding, which would have increased the pressure to generate more funds in the near-term. As it stands, the company is expecting to start a round of fundraising in the middle of next year. Sidhu noted that Edotco is discussing the possible acquisition of roughly the same number of towers as the Pakistan deal, although did not name the parties involved.