July 03--Samart Corporation has entered into an agreement to buy back all the shares from its Malaysian strategic partner Axiata Group.
Under the agreement, the Thai telecom equipment firm will pay 2.875 billion baht to buy back 1.053 billion shares, or 23.93%, of Samart I-Mobile (SIM), the main handset unit of Samart Group, from Axiata Group ? formerly known as Telecom Malaysia.
The shares will be sold at a price of 2.73 baht each.
The contract was signed yesterday, and the transaction will be completed over the next 30 days.
Samart will hold 74% of SIM after the buyback.
Watchai Vilailuck, president of Samart Corporation, said the buyback was not connected with anticipated management conflicts.
Axiata decided to sell the shares because the Malaysian firm wanted to focus on its core telecom business.
Most of the revenue from SIM came from handset sales and trading businesses.
"The purchase complies with our policy to hold shares of at least 70% in the group's companies," he said.
Mr Watchai said Axiata wanted to strengthen its mobile business, while Samart was focusing on mobile device sales and digital content services.
"The deal has nothing to do with any conflicts with shareholders or difference of opinion and management," he stressed, adding that Axiata pledged the company would be ready to enter into a partnership with Samart again in the future.
Mr Watchai said the deal would not have any negative effects on Samart but instead would help the company to manage business more flexibly.
Samart Corporation this year expects to realise greater revenue from mobile business after the buyback, he said.
Samart I-Mobile (SIM) shares closed yesterday on the SET at 3.16 baht, up 12 satang in trade worth 439 million baht.
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