September 26, 2011 / 10:16 AM / 8 years ago

Sarana, Tower Bersama lead race for Indosat telecom towers-sources

(Repeats to attach story to news alerts)

JAKARTA/HONG KONG, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Indonesian telecom tower firms Sarana Menara Nusantara Tbk PT and Tower Bersama Infrastructure Tbk PT are leading the race to buy about 4,000 towers worth about $500 million from Indosat Tbk PT , three sources said on Monday.

Indosat, the nation’s No.2 mobile phone provider, launched an initial sale of 4,000 towers in June and has drawn interest from several local firms.

“The company is now in talks and negotiating with Tower Bersama and Sarana and expects the deal to be completed by the end of the year or January 2012,” said a source with direct knowledge of deal.

The company may sell less than the initial plan of 4,000 towers due to a valuation issue but will still draw about $500 million, the source added.

Solusi Tunas Pratama, a potential bidder who plans to raise up to 380 billion rupiah ($43 million) in an initial public offering in October, dropped out the plan, two sources said.

All sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

Australia’s ANZ , Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ , Credit Agricole CIB and United Overseas Bank have agreed to support Bersama on an exclusive basis, sources told Thomson Reuters’ Basis Point in July.

Meanwhile, banks including DBS , ING Bank , OCBC Bank , Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp are likely to support the financing of an acquisition by Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo), controlled by Sarana, sources said.

The sale could be the first auction of around 10,000 towers sources told Reuters last year that Indosat was considering selling.

Indosat, controlled by Qatar Telecom , declined to comment. Tower Bersama and Sarana are also declined to comment. ($1 = 8,780 rupiah) (Reporting by Janeman Latul and Fathiya Dahrul in JAKARTA and Maggie Chen from Basis Point in HONG KONG; Editing by Jason Szep)

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