(Adds Tower Bersama, comment from XL Axiata, background)
By Fransiska Nangoy and Fathiyah Dahrul
JAKARTA, July 14 (Reuters) - Indonesian telecommunication tower operators PT Solusi Tunas Pratama Tbk and PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure Tbk are considering bidding for the tower assets of PT XL Axiata Tbk.
XL Axiata, part of Malaysia’s Axiata Group Bhd, said on July 1 that it plans to sell some of its telco towers and use the proceeds to pare its debt. It is unclear how many towers XL Axiata is selling.
Owners of telco towers in Indonesia are increasingly selling or spinning off these assets to cut capital spending and maintenance costs. XL Axiata will announce the bidders for its towers this week, a spokeswoman said.
One telco tower is valued around 1.2 billion rupiah ($103,000) on average, said Chandra Pasaribu, an analyst with Indo Premier Securities. XL Axiata has 8,000 towers but is unlikely to sell all of them, Pasaribu said.
“Yes, we are interested to bid for the towers,” Solusi Tunas Pratama Chief Executive Nobel Tanihaha said in an email on Monday. He declined to disclose more details.
Tower Bersama Finance Director Helmy Yusman Santoso also told Reuters that the company is interested in XL Axiata’s assets, but “we don’t know the valuation yet because we don’t know how many towers will be sold yet.”
XL Axiata, which finalised its $865 million acquisition of Indonesian mobile phone operator PT Axis Telekom earlier this year, had liabilities totalling 46.3 trillion rupiah ($4 billion) at the end of March 2014, according to its latest financial statement.
XL Axiata competes with a unit of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk and PT Indosat Tbk.
$1 = 11,645.00 rupiah Writing by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Ryan Woo