Axiata’s acquisition of Pakistan Mobile Communications’ towers has received the thumbs-up from country’s competition watchdog

Axiata’s recently-announced deal to acquire a portfolio of telecoms towers in Pakistan for close to US$1 billion has received the approval of one regulatory body but is waiting for the go-ahead from others, according to a local press report.

The Competition Commission of Pakistan gave the deal the green light last week, The News International reported, citing Arif Hussain, head of edotco in Pakistan. edotco is a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Axiata.

The firm is waiting for the next approval from industry regulator the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Hussain told journalists on Tuesday, noting that there are also other approvals still to come.

He added that the deal is following the normal regulatory process.

Axiata announced in August that it has partnered with Pakistani investment conglomerate Dawood Hercules to acquire Deodar, owner of 13,000 telecoms towers, from Pakistan Mobile Communications Ltd (PMCL), operator of the Jazz mobile service in the country.

Together the pair agreed to pay US$940 million for Deodar. They intend to fund the deal through a combination of $600 million in external local debt and an equity split of $174 million from edotco and $166 million by Dawood Hercules.

The firms’ Pakistani assets will be held by a subsidiary known as edotco PK. Axiata holds a 55% stake in the unit and Dawood Hercules the remaining 45%.