Krishnan to cut costs in Malaysian telcom Binariang GSM via potential USD1.9 bond sale - source

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Nov 27, 2013 04:28 AM EST

An unnamed source told Bloomberg that Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan was looking to reduce costs for his telecommunications business. The source added that in doing so, Krishnan is contemplating about the sale of around MYR6 billion or USD1.9 billion of Islamic bonds or aptly termed as sukuk. Sukuk is defined as debt that pays returns on assets in compliance with the ban on interest as dictated in Koran.

The source also disclosed that Krishnan's Binariang GSM Sdn will be deciding whether it would proceed with its plans to sell sukuk before the year ends. Binariang has controlling interests in mobile-phone companies that include Malaysia's Maxis Bhd. and India's Aircel Ltd. The anonymous sources asked not to be named as the decision-making was private.

Krishnan is considered to be the second-richest in Malaysia according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with estimated assets worth USD8.8 billion in total. The last time Binariang sold sukuk, Bloomberg noted, was in December 2007 in order to finance a buyout of company Maxis Communications Bhd.

Binariang has the sixth-highest investment grade by RAM Rating Services Bhd at A2. The Islamic bonds Binariang sold six years ago had maturities of five to 50 years. It also issued 2017 securities at a 6.1% coupon rate and 15-year notes at 7.1% coupon rate. According to a central bank index, the average yields on top-rated Malaysian companies were 4.38%. This was comparable with the average yields of top-rated Malaysian companies back in 2007 at 4.61%.

When Bloomberg contact Kuala Lumpur-based Binariang GSM Chan Chee Beng, he could not be reached via phone nor did not respond immediately to the news agency's request for comments about the report.

The Bloomberg-AIBIM Bursa Malaysia Corporate Sukuk Index tracks most traded notes in local currency. The said index had gained 2.6% this 2013 to 104.97. The gain was considered the highest level reached so far since the index was established in February last year.

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