Axiata Group and Telenor Group completed a long-delayed combination of their respective units in Malaysia, with both parties holding a 33.1 per cent stake in the newly created Celcom Digi.

In a joint statement, the pair said the Malaysian operator would have a subscriber base of around 20 million and annual revenue of MYR13 billion ($2.9 billion) based on their latest figures.

GSMA Intelligence figures for Q3 place the combined entity as the market leader by connections, overtaking Maxis’ near 12 million.

Alongside the two parent companies, other stakeholders in Celcom Digi include various investment funds and individual shareholders. The combined business will continue to be publicly traded under the existing Digi listing on the local stock exchange.

As previously announced, synergies from combining the businesses are expected to reach MYR8 billion.

Among the immediate plans for the business is an investment of MYR250 million over five years in a hub in Kuala Lumpur to push developments in areas including AI, 5G, cloud computing and IoT.

When announced in June 2021, the deal was scheduled to complete in Q2 2022, however the amount of time it took to get through the various regulatory hoops significantly delayed this timeline.

The boards of the composite companies gave final sign-off earlier this month.

Axiata chair Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the expanded entity was “strategically poised to invest in network expansion and support the growth of Malaysia’s digital ecosystem”.

Telenor EVP and head of Asia Jorgen Arentz Rostrup added his company was “committed to be an active owner, bringing technology know-how, experience across international markets and global partnerships with industry giants to Celcom Digi”.

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