UPDATE 1-Axiata says Malaysian merger with Telenor to be sealed within days

(Adds details, executive quotes)

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 (Reuters) - Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group Bhd and Norway’s Telenor ASA will seal a deal to merge their Malaysian mobile operations within days, Axiata’s CEO said on Tuesday.

Both companies have concluded the due diligence process and are hopeful to sign the agreement soon, Izzaddin Idris told a virtual briefing with reporters. “The signing is a matter of days or a week,” he added.

Idris said shareholders were upbeat about the proposed merger of Malaysia’s second and third-largest mobile services providers, which Axiata had said will help restore long-term growth and profitability to the industry there.

Axiata and Telenor announced in April they were in advanced talks to combine Celcom Axiata Bhd and Telenor’s DiGi.Com Bhd , to create the top player in Malaysia’s highly competitive sector. The two companies will each own about 33.1% of the merged entity, Celcom Digi Berhad.

Idris added that the merger could be completed in nine to 12 months, depending on regulatory approvals. (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Louise Heavens and Pravin Char)