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Axiata sells Thai stake

Axiata Group Berhard – the owner of domestic mobile provider Hello – has sold its 18.9 percent stake in Samart Corporation Public Company to existing shareholders.

Originally acquired in 1997, the stake fetched US$34.8 million from Samart shareholders late last week. It was sold as part of Axiata’s plan to better focus on its “primary business”, according to company officials.

“This divestment reinforces our commitment to focus on our primary business of mobile communications,” Axiata president and CEO Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said in a press release.

In Cambodia, Thailand-based Samart operates Cambodia Air Traffic Services and Kampot Power Plant Co, as well as regional mobile multimedia and ICT-related business, according to its website.

Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation entered into a 22-year exclusive agreement with Samart to develop and operate the domestic civil air traffic control and navigation system in January 2001.

Axiata, which is Malaysia’s second-biggest mobile phone operator, will retain its 24.4 percent stake in Samart subsidiary Samart i-Mobile.

Samart officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Axiata shares rose to a two-week high in Kuala Lumpur trading after announcing the Samart sale.

The shares added 0.4 percent to 4.72 ringgit, the highest close since December 14.

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