Singtel divests Australian tower network to AustralianSuper for $1.4 bln

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A woman using a mobile phone walks behind a Singtel signage at their head office in Singapore February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

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Oct 1 (Reuters) - Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) has divested a 70% stake in its Australian tower network to superannuation fund AustralianSuper for A$1.9 billion ($1.37 billion), and said it will use the proceeds to fund a 5G rollout and for data centres.

The deal involves the sale of 2,312 mobile network towers and rooftop sites, and values the Australia Tower Network at an enterprise value of A$2.3 billion, Singtel said in a statement on Friday.

With the COVID-19 pandemic boosting demand for data centres, Singtel will be forming a regional data centre platform with an initial focus on countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the statement said.

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The group had signed a memorandum of understanding with Thai power and infrastructure company Gulf Energy to build and develop data centres across the country.

Singtel is also in advanced talks with Telkom Indonesia to explore acquiring and building data centre assets in Indonesia and the region.

"The rise of digital technology and its accelerated adoption on the back of COVID-19 has had major implications for the physical infrastructure that facilitate and support this overwhelming demand for data connectivity we are witnessing," said Singtel's Group Chief Executive Yuen Kuan Moon.

"From our telecom towers to our data centres, it is imperative that we restructure our assets and re-organise our business to better fund, improve and grow our digital infrastructure."

($1 = 1.3827 Australian dollars)

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Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore and Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Ed Davies

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