--Vodafone said offering will consist of sell-down of existing shares

--Timing of flotation remains subject to market conditions

--Brokerage Numis estimated Vodafone could raise up to EUR4 billion


By Adria Calatayud


Vodafone Group PLC said Wednesday that it intends to list its European telecommunications-infrastructure unit, Vantage Towers, on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by the end of March.

The U.K. telecommunications group said the offering will consist solely of a secondary sell-down of existing shares held by the parent, and that the planned IPO seeks to target a meaningful minority free float.

Vodafone said the timing of the IPO is subject to market conditions.

The move is set to help Vodafone in its efforts to cut debt by tapping into investors' appetite for telecommunication-infrastructure assets, a market that has been heating up in recent months.

Orange last week said it would establish a European tower company by the end of the year. Meanwhile, tower specialist Cellnex Telecom SA has been on a buying spree, and U.S. peer American Tower recently boosted its European presence with a deal to buy 23,800 tower sites in Germany and Spain from a unit of Telefonica SA.

Brokerage Numis on Tuesday estimated Vodafone could raise between 3 billion and 4 billion euros ($3.65 billion-$4.86 billion) from listing a minority stake in Vantage Towers.

Vodafone said Vantage Towers --which has a portfolio of around 82,000 tower sites across 10 European countries-- is set to benefit from strong and resilient underlying demand within a growing towers market, which is mature in the U.S. but still in the early stages of its evolution in Europe.

"We will be looking to capture the exciting value-creating opportunities the sector has to offer and to build on our position as a leading tower infrastructure company in Europe," Vantage Towers Chief Executive Vivek Badrinath said.

For the nine months to Dec. 31, Vantage Towers generated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization after leases of EUR394 million, with a margin of 54%. The business is targeting a mid-single digit revenue compound annual growth rate and adjusted Ebitda after leases margin in the high-fifty percentages over the medium term, Vodafone said.

Vodafone and Vantage Towers have hired Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and UBS as joint global co-ordinators, and Barclays, Berenberg, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Jefferies as joint bookrunners.


Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayud@dowjones.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 24, 2021 03:13 ET (08:13 GMT)

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