SingTel Set for $550M Stake in Malaysian Telco

SINGAPORE (04/07/2000) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) has entered into an agreement to buy 14.5 percent of Malaysian company Time Engineering Bhd. and 20 percent of its telecommunications and Internet subsidiary Time.com Bhd., SingTel said today in a statement to the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

The agreement is currently non-binding and subject to further negotiation, SingTel said.

If the deal goes ahead, SingTel will pay at total of around M$2.1 billion (US$552 million) for its stakes in the two companies -- an agreed M$650 million for the Time Engineering stake plus a negotiable amount around M$1.5 billion for the Time.com stake, the companies said.

A major prize for SingTel will be access to Time's 3,600-kilometer fiber-optic network across peninsular Malaysia. This will link Singapore directly with Thailand, where SingTel holds 20 percent of the country's biggest mobile phone operator, Advanced Info Service PLC.

The bridging of this gap will bring SingTel's plan of a true Southeast Asian telecom network closer to reality, given that it has a 39 percent stake in Globe Telecom of the Philippines, a long-time investment in a mobile phone operation in Vietnam, and a direct digital submarine cable link to its Vietnamese partner, Vietnam Posts & Telecommunications Corp. (VNPT).

SingTel and Time will try to achieve a definitive written agreement within 30 days, SingTel said in its statement to SGX.

Although the SingTel/Time deal is not certain to proceed, ISP (Internet service provider) Pacific Internet Ltd. (PI) said in a statement today that it would no longer be seeking a deal with Time.com to enter the Malaysian market because of the proposed tie-up with SingTel.

PI and Time signed a memorandum of understanding in February under which PI would provide narrowband and broadband Internet services to businesses in Malaysia.

SingTel can be contacted at +65-838-2740 or http://www.singtel.com/.

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