SINGAPORE (Feb 9): Singapore Telecommunications, the city-state’s largest phone company, said it has hired three banks as it prepares for an initial public offering to divest more than 75% of its wholly-owned fibre broadband network unit NetLink Trust.

Morgan Stanley, UBS Group AG and DBS Group Holdings are the advisers on the share sale, Singtel Chief Executive Officer Chua Sock Koong said at a briefing on Thursday. The company said it’s too early for details on the size or pricing of the proposed offering.

Singtel intends to meet the April 2018 deadline set by the regulator to reduce its stake in NetLink Trust to less than 25%, the company said. It may use the proceeds from the share sale for capital management and investments, and could return any excess capital to shareholders, Chua said.

Profit contributions from NetLink Trust, along with its Indonesia and Philippine investments, helped offset declines from Thailand and India in the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, according to a statement to the Singapore Exchange. Net income contribution from NetLink Trust increased 42% to $32 million.

(See alsoSingtel 3Q earnings up 2% to $973 mil)

NetLink Trust’s operating revenue and earnings grew at double-digit on increased fibre penetration in Singapore. The unit has 79% of Singapore’s residential wired-broadband market.

Singtel shares have climbed 6.6% this year, compared with the 7.2% gain in the benchmark Straits Times Index.