NewSat flags interest in Singtel's sale of Optus unit -report

SYDNEY, June 12 Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:21pm EDT

SYDNEY, June 12 (Reuters) - Australian satellite communications company NewSat has flagged its interest in Singapore Telecommunications Ltd's A$2 billion ($1.88 billion) sale of its Australian unit, Optus Satellite.

NewSat chief executive Adrian Ballintine said a number of private equity firms and investment banks have approached the satellite operator about potential partnerships.

"There is an opportunity for us to be a participant," Mr Ballintine was quoted as saying in The Australian newspaper on Wednesday.

"It's fair to say that we have been approached by numerous PE firms and banks to partner up," Ballintine said. "We could also manage the process too, which would be interesting."

Private equity firms KKR and Carlyle Group are among the suitors lining up bids for Optus, people familiar with the matter have previously told Reuters.

SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest telecom operator, is battling tepid growth in its key markets of Singapore and Australia, and the funds raised from the sale would help it plough cash into faster-growing businesses.

France's Eutelsat Communications SA, Blackstone Group BX.N and Providence Equity Partners are also expected to bid, sources have said. SingTel is inviting first round offers by June 14, one of the people said. ($1 = 1.0637 Australian dollars) (Reporting By Jane Wardell; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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