Astro Said to Seek $1.5 Billion in Malaysian Share Offering

Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. (ASTRO), the country’s largest pay-TV broadcaster, is seeking to raise as much as 4.6 billion ringgit ($1.5 billion) in the world’s sixth- biggest corporate initial public offering this year, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Backed by billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan, Astro plans to sell 1.52 billion shares at 2.70 to 3 ringgit apiece, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The company will start taking orders for stock tomorrow, one of the people said.

Malaysia has been home to three of the world’s six largest IPOs by companies this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Demand for shares from institutions outstripped supply when Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd. (FGV) raised $3.3 billion in June and IHH Healthcare Bhd. (IHH) sold $2.1 billion of stock in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore the following month.

“There will be strong demand,” Ang Kok Heng, who oversees about 1.3 billion ringgit as chief investment officer at Kuala Lumpur-based Phillip Capital Management Sdn., said by phone. “There’s no strong competitor and they have a fairly secure business. The valuation is not cheap.”

The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index has risen 7.3 percent this year and closed at a record on Sept. 4.

Tallest Building

Astro was taken private in 2010 by Ananda Krishnan, the country’s second-richest man according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The relisted company excludes the group’s international operations.

Astro Chief Executive Officer Rohana Rozhan couldn’t be immediately reached for comment by phone at her office today.

Malaysia-born Ananda Krishnan also owns interests in real estate, telecommunications and oil and gas and helped develop the 88-floor Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur -- the world’s tallest building until 2004.

Two other companies he bought out have since sold stock to the public after being restructured. Mobile-phone operator Maxis Bhd. (MAXIS) raised $3.6 billion in a 2009 IPO after similarly stripping its international interests. Bumi Armada Bhd. (BAB), Malaysia’s biggest supplier of support vessels for the oil and gas industry, sold $882 million of shares in July last year.

Maxis has gained 43 percent from its offer price and Bumi Armada is up 23 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Almost 60 percent of the proceeds will be used for capital spending, and about 30 percent to repay debt, according to a draft prospectus posted on the Securities Commission’s website last month.

Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., together with Malaysia’s CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. (CIMB) and Malayan Banking Bhd. (MAY), are among banks managing the offer, people with knowledge of the matter said in July.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chong Pooi Koon in Kuala Lumpur at pchong17@bloomberg.net; Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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