Fri, Jul 12, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Asia Pacific Telecom set to launch IPO next month

RESTRUCTURING RESULTS:Things are looking rosier for Asia Pacific Telecom, which has accumulated about NT$20 billion in net profits over the past four years

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Asia Pacific Telecom Co (APT, 亞太電信) is scheduled to launch an initial public offering (IPO) at a preliminary price of NT$12 per share, the company said yesterday ahead of its main bourse debut on Aug. 5.

The figure represents a 13.23 percent discount from APT’s closing share price of NT$13.83 yesterday on the Emerging Stock Market.

The company will finalize its listing price following discussion with its IPO broker Masterlink Securities Investment Advisory Co (元富投顧).

The company, Taiwan’s only telecom operator using WCDMA 2000 technology, was mired in scandal five years ago after high-ranking executives were charged with embezzling company funds, bringing the firm to the brink of bankruptcy.

After a series of restructuring efforts, the situation looks rosier for the company, which has accumulated about NT$20 billion (US$668 million) in net profits over the past four years, company chairperson Sophia Chiu (邱純枝) said at an investors’ conference.

This year, the company will distribute NT$0.7 per share in cash dividends for the first time in its history based on last year’s earnings of NT$3.3 billion, or NT$1 per share.

This represents a 70 percent payout ratio, but the figure is likely to drop over the next two to three years since the company plans to allocate most of its capital for 3G and 4G network deployment.

Cash will account for half of the dividend outlay, if it decides to distribute, the company said.

APT’s next target is to vie for a 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) license, Chiu said.

“For the company’s sustainable development, we have no option but to migrate to 4G technology,” Chiu said. “We are preparing financially to get a 4G LTE license.”

APT booked NT$10.8 billion in cash in the first quarter. Each 4G license holder is expected to pay NT$10 billion for their license in an auction scheduled for November.

Chiu said the company is open to strategic alliances with other companies to offer 4G LTE services, considering the intensifying competition and massive investment in network deployment.

The company has 450,000 data-oriented 3.5G service subscribers, who account for 30 percent of the company’s total revenue.

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