Four MNOs take larger share in DNB in latest twist

03 July 2024

Four telco investors have agreed to take slightly larger-than-planned stakes in Digital Nasional Bhd (DNB).

DNB said that Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi’s Infranation – which completed their share subscription agreements (SSAs) last month – have agreed to take a 16.3% share each in the operator. That adds up to a collective 65.1% stake in DNB.

Under the original plan announced in December 2023, the fours telcos, along with Telekom Malaysia (TM), were meant to take a 14% stake each for a collective 70% stake. However, with TM unable to complete its SSA until August – as it still needs to acquire approval from shareholders in accordance with its governance requirements – DNB decided to give the other four telcos higher stakes. The Minister of Finance (MOF) owns the remaining 34.9% stake in DNB, as well as a Special Share for a designated period.

The move is a contingency measure in case TM’s shareholders reject the SSA. TM has been given a long-stop date of 21 August 2024 to complete the process. If shareholders give TM the green light, everything will revert to the original plan, with the five telcos owning 70% (at 14% each) and the MOF holding the remaining 30%.

Under the SSA terms, each telco will buy 100,000 shares in DNB at RM1 per share, and also inject RM233.3 million (US$49.2 million) of shareholder advances.

Meanwhile, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi now have a month to decide which of them will stay in DNB and which will move on to Malaysia’s planned second 5G network.

Under the SSA provisions, each telco has the option to quit DNB to participate in the second 5G network. Telcos who exit DNB are not obligated to actually take an equity stake in the second network. However, Maxis, U Mobile, YTL and CelcomDigi have all issued statements indicating great interest in participating in the second network.

In a statement issued Friday, CelcomDigi CEO Idham Nawawi said that the company was “eager to move into the next phase of transitioning to the 5G Dual Network model and participating in the upcoming process to build the second 5G network.”
He added that between CelcomDigi’s track record of network deployments and the RM 4 billion in capex it’s invested in them, “we believe we are in a strong position to lead the development of the second 5G network for Malaysia.”