March 12, 2011 / 8:54 AM / 9 years ago

Saudi's STC to increase stake in Indonesia's NTS

* Saudi Telecom to raise stake in Indonesia’s NTS

* To provide loans of $81 mln, followed by $290 mln

JEDDAH, March 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Telecom Co (STC) said on Saturday it planned to rase its share in its affiliate NTS in Indonesia to 80 percent, and lend it more than $370 million, as it readies to expand in the Indonesian market.

Natrindo Telepon Selular (NTS Indonesia), now 51 percent owned by STC and 44 percent owned by Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Bhd (MCB) , has set up a five-year plan to expand in Indonesia’s telecom market, STC said in a bourse statement.

“Saudi Telecom has shown interest in taking this opportunity to increase its shares in (NTS) due to the growth prospects in the Indonesian economy,” STC said.

“It agreed on Wednesday to give an initial loan of $81 million, followed by another loan of $290 million to be paid according to the firm’s operational needs,” the firm said.

The deal will cancel all the loans made to NTS by Maxis Communications, amounting to almost $412 million, and increase STC’s stake to 80.1 percent from 51 percent.

Maxis Communications’ share will fall to 14.9 percent from 44 percent, while the local partner will maintain a 5 percent stake.

The deal has yet to be approved by the Indonesian regulators.

NTS began its mobile phone services in 2008 and has more than 10 million customers, covering 400 cities in Indonesia, the statement added. (Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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