Robi Axiata, the second-largest operator in Bangladesh by subscribers, submitted an application to the country’s regulator for an initial public offering (IPO) to raise funds for a planned network expansion.

The operator would use the majority of the BDT5.24 billion ($61.8 million) it aims to raise in the IPO to upgrade its network.

Malaysia-based Axiata Group holds a 68.69 per cent interest in the operator.

In a stock marketing filing, the parent company said Robi Axiata applied to the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission for a listing on the Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges.

At a press conference in late February, Robi Axiata insisted tax cuts were a condition for moving ahead with the listing. CEO Mahtab Uddin Ahmed told New Age it pushed the government to reduce the minimum tax on revenue to 0.75 per cent from 2 per cent and cut the corporate tax rate from 45 per cent to 35 per cent for ten years.

The listing is expected to be completed by Q4 2020.

Data from GSMA Intelligence showed 4G subscribers accounted for just 4.5 per cent of Robi Axiata’s 49 million users at end-December.

Net profit in 2019 dropped to BDT8 million from BDT103 million in 2018, due mainly to a one-off intra-group gain the previous year.