Astro IPO oversubscribed, targets 100% HD
By Colin Mann

Astro, Malaysia’s largest pay-TV operator, which controls some 50 per cent of the six million Malaysian TV households, launched the prospectus for its IPO, September 21, pricing the retail offering at RM3 (€0.76) a share, with shares already oversubscribed by more than 10 times.

The oversubscription rate could well be higher, with the closing of the book coming October 3. Retail investors have until October 1 to subscribe for the shares and the final pricing for the shares will be fixed once the book closes.

Astro chief executive officer Datuk Rohana Rozhan said it is targeting to have 100 per cent high-definition installation by 2015. The company is in the throes of swapping out the technology platforms, which means migrating set-top box to the new B.yond platform.”Of the current 3.1 million customers, we have already migrated 1.6 million to the new B.yond platform, which shows there are 1.5 million customers left to go,” she told reporters. “Our intention is to complete the migration by the end of next year and capture more subscribers. Migrating to the new B.yond platform will cost us about RM600 each..”

The launch of B.yond IPTV has transformed Astro from a pure DTH satellite TV operator into a multi-platform pay-TV operator and a triple-play service that includes pay-TV services delivered through fibre optic broadband with high-speed broadband and telephony services.

Astro’s IPO offers up to 1.52 billion shares, or 29.2 per cent, of the enlarged issued and paid-up capital of the company, and comprises a public issue of 473.3 million new ordinary shares and an offer for sale up to 1.04 billion existing shares. Astro chairman Tun Zaki Tun Azmi said the company is expecting its market capitalisation at over RM15 billion upon listing.

Astro is returning to Bursa Malaysia after it was taken private in 2008, with the offering aimed at raising RM4.55 billion.