Malaysian-based Axiata Group, the telecommunications company with presence in six countries has expanded into Nepal by acquiring 80% stake in Ncell Pte Ltd, the largest telecom service provider in the country. The acquisition was closed for US$1.365 billion (RM5.907 billion). The rest 20% share in Ncell will be retained by a local partner Sunivera Capital Venture.
Commenting on the acquisition, Axiata president and Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said, “The addition of Ncell into the Axiata network of mobile operators marks yet another significant milestone for the Group, in terms of solidifying our strong hold in the South Asian region.”
He said the target is to meet the growing data demands of young and maturing Nepali market. The company will focus on rolling out high-speed data connection, exciting products, and services.
Ncell is the largest operator in Nepal with a subscriber base of 13 million. It has a total subscriber market share of 48.8%. The company registered a revenue CAGR of 19.9% between the financial year 2013 (FY13) and FY15, with an EBITDA margin of 62.2% in FY15. Its return on invested capital was over 70% in FY15.
“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 on par with its economic progress. Being a responsible corporate citizen and a major contributor to the country’s economy is key to our long-term vision,” Jamaludin added.
Following the acquisition of Ncell, Axiata’s presence and reach in South East Asia has covered a total population of 2 billion. The Axiata group operates in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal.