SINGAPORE (Jan 28): M1, which is in the process of being taken private by Keppel and Singapore Press Holdings, reported 4Q18 earnings to $25.7 million, down 30.4% from a year ago.

This brings FY18 earnings to $131.3 million, 8.5% lower than $143.5 million in FY17.

Revenue for the quarter was $312.8 million, 3.7% higher than $301.7 million a year ago, mainly due to higher contribution from the group’s fixed services and handset/equipment sales, which saw revenue increase by 8.6% and 13.3% y-o-y, respectively.

The increase in revenue was however offset by lower contribution from the mobile telecommunication services and international call service, which saw revenue decrease by 2.7% and 18.4% y-o-y, respectively.

Operating expenses increased by 7.3% to $278.9 million from $259.8 million last year.

As at Dec 31, customer base was 2.8% lower y-o-y at 2.165 million. Group’s cash and cash equivalents stood at $79.2 million.

The group has declared an interim dividend of 5.2 cents and a final dividend of 6.0 cents, which will be payable on May 15.

To recap, Keppel and SPH made a pre-conditional voluntary general offer for M1 on Sept 27, offering $2.06 a share. Bursa Malaysia-listed telco Axiata Group is M1’s biggest shareholder, with a 28.7% stake.

As of Jan 21, Keppel and SPH hold a joint 34.35% stake in M1. Both companies don’t even need Axiata to tender its stake in M1 for the deal to go through. Through their joint firm Konnectivity, Keppel and SPH have obtained a waiver from the Singapore Exchange that allows them to take M1 private without Axiata, according to a Jan 7 statement. That’s on the condition that the shareholding of the public float exceeds 90%.

See: M1 deal hangs in balance as Keppel, SPH stand ground

On Jan 23, the offerors announced they won't raise their offer price “under any circumstances whatsoever.” Instead, they hae extended the closing date for the offer by two weeks to Feb 18, giving investors more time to consider tendering their shares.

Shares in M1 closed at $2.06 on Monday.