SingTel Extends Reach with Point Asia Stake

SINGAPORE (05/04/2000) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) has added to its list of Southeast Asian partners by buying a 31 percent stake in Thailand's Point Asia Dot Com Ltd., the parent company of the country's second-largest ISP (Internet service provider), Loxley Information Service Co.

Ltd. (Loxinfo).

SingTel paid US$23 million for the stake and will get proportionate representation in Point Asia's 10-member board, significant active participation in management decisions, and a say in the appointment of key company executives, SingTel said yesterday in a statement.

The investment in Point Asia marks the first major acquisition as part of SingTel's regional Internet and ISP strategy. More acquisitions are expected to be announced in the future to enable SingTel to offer customers regionwide telecom, data communications, Internet and e-commerce services, SingTel said.

The stake may result in the first free Internet service based in Thailand.

Earlier this year, SingTel signed a strategic alliance with Freei.Net Asia-Pacific Inc., which then announced its plans to offer free Internet services in Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand this year. The free service in Singapore began operation in January.

Singapore's regional strategy is strongest in Thailand, where it also owns 20 percent of the country's leading mobile phone operator, Advanced Info Services PLC, and in the Philippines, where it holds 39 percent of the country's second-largest carrier, Globe Telecom.

SingTel is currently in the middle of a takeover battle for Malaysian Internet company Time Dot Com Bhd. If it wins against local champion Sapura Group, it will gain access to Time's 3,600-kilometer fiber-optic network across peninsular Malaysia. This will link SingTel directly with its operations in Thailand.

Other regional investments include a direct digital submarine cable link to its Vietnamese partner, Vietnam Posts & Telecommunications Corp. (VNPT).

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

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