Will Keppel Corporation Limited (Still) Dump its M1 Ltd Stake?  

By now, investors should know that Singapore telco M1 Ltd’s (SGX: B2F) major shareholders will not be selling their collective stake in the company.

As a background, on 17 March 2017, M1’s biggest shareholders, namely, Keppel Corporation Limited (SGX: BN4), Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SGX: T39), and the Malaysia-based telco Axiata Group Berhad (KLSE: 6888.KL), were revealed to be exploring a sale of their respective stakes in the local telco. The divestment would be significant as the trio own around 61% of M1’s shares.

But rumours of a sale came to an end last week, with the trio announcing that there will be no transaction. Well, they’re not selling together, at least.

The oil conglomerate speaks out

During Keppel Corporation’s latest 2017 second quarter earnings briefing, the company’s chief executive officer, Loh Chin Hua, was asked about his plans on the M1 stake. He replied:

“Keppel T&T announced on Tuesday that the strategic review has ended. When we first made an announcement in March that the three shareholders were undertaking a strategic review, we also said at that time that it may or may not lead to a transaction.”

Keppel Corporation’s M1 stake is housed under its subsidiary Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Ltd (SGX: K11), or Keppel T&T. But, Loh also left an intriguing statement:

“It is the end of this strategic review, but for us, we will continue to review our options.”

It appears that Keppel Corporation may still be considering to sell its 19% stake in M1 on its own. After all, M1 is not a core investment for Keppel Corporation. In the company’s earnings briefing for the fourth quarter of 2015, Loh said:

“We have said before, M1 is not a core investment for us. But when we sell would depend on many things. In the meantime, we are quite happy with the contribution that M1 is making to Keppel T&T and to the Group.”

The sale of Keppel Corporation’s 19% stake in M1 may not have the same punch as the three biggest shareholders selling off a controlling 61% stake. But, it could still mean a major shareholder change for M1 if it happens.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore writer Chin Hui Leong doesn't own shares in any company mentioned.