SINGAPORE'S first Internet service provider, Pacific Internet, has been renamed Pacnet following its merger with Asia Netcom, and the company is expected to be de-listed from American's Nasdaq stock exchange in February.
The merger, said Pacnet's Hongkong-based chief executive officer William Barney at a media briefing on Thursday, has created a powerful telecommunications player especially since it owns the region's biggest submarine cable network.
This US$4 billion trump card, he said, gives Pacnet access to the 'lowest-cost network' in the region for up to '20 years'.
Going forward, Pacnet will 'de-emphasise' its consumer business and concentrate on the higher-margin corporate segment, although there are no plans to exit the retail business 'at this time', he said.
He added that there will be no further retrenchment following the recent exercise, which shed over 50 staff here. The company, which has 1,400 employees, most of whom based in Singapore, is now looking at hiring 90 sales and customer service staff region-wide.
Pacific Internet is also headed for a delisting, probably by next month, said Mr Barney.
The company has been buying up its shares on the open market, and currently owns over 94 per cent of its shares, with the remainder in the hands of 'small institutional and retail investors'.
In such takeovers, the company usually offers to buy the minority shareholders' holdings. Shareholders who do not accept this offer run the risk of having their funds stuck once the company is delisted.
Following this, Pacnet may launch a new public offering to raise US$500 million (S$716 million) to US$800 million sometime this year, said Mr Barney, to acquire companies and continued upgrades for its regional network.
It has already approched investment banks and the listing will likely be on the Nasdaq exchange, although he did not rule out other exchanges.
Should the capital market head south, Pacnet, which is profitable and debt-free, is prepared to 'hunker down' until conditions improve and try again then, he said.