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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Malaysia: Time dotCom to raise RM1b Sukuk to expand fibre footprint

KUALA LUMPUR: Time dotCom Bhd plans to raise RM1bil under its proposed Sukuk programme 2015-2035 which would be used to expand its fibre footprint and for other operations.

RAM Ratings said on Tuesday it had assigned a preliminary rating of AA3/Stable to the Islamic medium-term notes (MTN) programme.

“The rating reflects Time dotCom’s sound business position in the fixed-line space and the earnings diversity from its international bandwidth business as well asdata centre. 

“Nonetheless, the rating is constrained by Time dotCom’s small market share compared to its larger rival’s which commands the lion’s share of the wholesale and enterprise fixed-line market,” it said. 

RAM Ratings said the proceeds would be used to expand its fibre footprint, further develop its data operations, refinancing of credit facilities and working capital requirements. 

“As such, the group’s balance sheet and debt-servicing indicators are envisaged to moderate in line with its increasing debt load over the next few years – its funds from operations debt coverage ratio and gearing ratio are expected to come in at an average of 0.3 times over the next three years,” it said.

RAM Ratings said Time dotCom is a data-centric, fixed-line telecommunications provider based in Malaysia. The group delivers fibre optic-based telecommunication solutions to wholesale, enterprise and retail customers within Peninsular Malaysia. 

Since 2012, the group has also been involved in the international bandwidth business (via GT Group) and data-centre operations (via the AIMS Group of Companies).  

The fixed-line division will remain the linchpin of the Group’s earnings, supported by the strong performance of the enterprise and wholesale segments. 

RAM Ratings’ co-head of infrastructure and utilities ratings Davinder Kaur Gill said: “Sturdy demand for bandwidth capacity and higher Internet usage remain a boon to the fixed-line segment.” 

She noted that Time dotCom was increasing its network presence by expanding the retail (mainly mutli-dwelling units) and enterprise segments. 

On this note, Time dotCom’s revenue and OPBDIT show CAGRs of a respective 19.3% and 28.5% for the past three years, recording highs of RM596.28mil and RM219.18mil in fiscal 2014.

Time dotCom’s international bandwidth business has been registering strong revenue and earnings growth over the past 3 years, underpinned by improved capacity utilisation for the trans-Pacific Unity North Cable System (UNITY), which reached approximately 90% in 2014. 

Prospects for its international bandwidth business remain bright pending the completion of the construction of three new international submarine cables – FASTER, Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) and Asia Pacific Gateway (APG). 

Time dotCom recently inked a MoU to explore constructing a submarine cable from Peninsular to East Malaysia in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia, although details are scant at this juncture. 

Time dotCom’s data-centre business, meanwhile, has also been enjoying strong top-line growth, although margins have been trending downwards amid the more competitive operating environment.

(The Star Online / 18 August 2015)
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