SingTel’s NetLink Trust IPO application approved

On 2 June 2017, SingTel received SGX’s approval to list NetLink Trust on the Mainboard, paving the way for the mega IPO of the year. This will be a short post to provide an update on the NetLink Trust IPO.

Since 9 February 2017, SingTel had announced that it had hired three banks to manage the initial public offering for its broadband subsidiary NetLink Trust. This is pursuant to Singtel’s undertaking to the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) to divest its stake in NetLink Trust, a 100%-owned associate of Singtel, to less than 25% ownership by 22 April 2018.

NetLink Trust designs, builds, owns and operates the passive infrastructure for Singapore’s Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NextGen NBN). Under the IMDA’s structural separation requirements for the NextGen NBN, Singtel does not have effective control in NetLink Trust.

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Most Singaporeans would be more familiar with OpenNet, the predecessor of NetLink Trust. In 2008, OpenNet used to be owned by a consortium consisting of SingTel (30%), SP Telecommunications (15%), Singapore Press Holdings (25%) and Canada’s Axia NetMedia (30%). However, in 2014, SingTel, through NetLink Trust, bought over all the shares of OpenNet from the rest of the major shareholders.

As a result of the acquisition, OpenNet ceased to exist and was renamed to NetLink Trust. The move sparked off an unprecedented protest from the six Singapore broadband players, who slammed the consolidation. This was because the acquisition effectively gave SingTel 100% monopoly on the fixed telecommunications network in Singapore. The industry’s concerns were centred on unfair competition and lack of transparency.

To address these concerns, it was highlighted that [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

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