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Wednesday, February 02, 2000
Time may list telco companies to get out of debt
The statement said it is currently in discussions with the central bank's Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee (CDRC) on the "alternative fallback strategy" but that no decisions had been made yet.
Time made the statement in response to unusual market activity on its stock in recent days.
Time Engineering was the second most active counter on the KLSE yesterday closing 39 sen higher at RM2.99, with volume of 27.86 million.
"We wish to inform you that the Time telecommunication companies have embarked on a strong marketing campaign to increase their subscribers base. The increased media presence coupled with the re-evaluation of the Time telecommunication companies by analysts may have contributed to the increased interest in the company's shares," it said.
Time has racked up debts of about RM4.5 billion and is under court protection from debtors. It is believed to have spurned bids for its telecom assets valued at RM14.6 billion because the highest bid received so far was a mere RM1.48 billion.
The CDRC had lined up at least three suitors for the company, rival telco Maxis Communications Bhd, Kejora Harta Bhd, and Singapore Technologies Pte Ltd. Speculation has been rife that foreign players Teleglobe Inc and MCI Worldcom Inc were also interested in minority stakes.
Time has been busily repositioning its telco unit Time Telecommunications Holdings Berhad in recent weeks when it revamped its board and appointed Abu Talib Othman as chairman, Zaidan Othman as deputy and Halim Saad as managing director.
Abu Talib is also a director of Jobstreet.com and former Malaysian attorney general. Halim is executive chairman of conglomerate Renong Bhd, which holds a 46.8 percent equity in Time Engineering.
On Monday, the company dropped the name Time Telecommunications in favor of the IPO-friendly Time dotCom Bhd.
Time dotCom will be the holding company of the TIME telecommunication companies comprising Time Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Time Wireless Sdn Bhd, Time Reach Sdn Bhd and TimeSat Sdn Bhd, which provide a full range of services including fiber optic, fixed line, mobile, payphone and Internet services.
Time dotCom's prized asset is a 5,200 km fiber optic backbone spanning the length of the peninsula via terrestrial cabling and submarine festoons and forms an integral part of its network infrastructure.
Time Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Time dotCom's main subsidiary, recently signed an agreement with Teleglobe to allow international traffic between its network and the Canadian giant's links in US, Japan, Canada and Europe.
Time dotCom has an estimated 250,000 mobile phone subscribers, 100,000 fixed line subscribers and 80,000 payphone lines. It also launched its Internet service to Malaysian subscribers last month.
Time closed at RM3.44 today.
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