Vodafone targets Frankfurt listing for mast business in early 2021

FILE PHOTO: Different types of 4G, 5G and data radio relay antennas for mobile phone networks are pictured on a relay mast operated by Vodafone in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: Different types of 4G, 5G and data radio relay antennas for mobile phone networks are pictured on a relay mast operated by Vodafone in Berlin, Germany April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

July 24, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Vodafone <VOD.L>, the world’s second biggest mobile operator, said on Friday it would list its towers business, named Vantage Towers, in Frankfurt in early 2021.

Chief Executive Nick Read said the launch of the new towers company was a major step in his strategy of improving the return from Vodafone’s assets.

“Vantage Towers will also unlock further value for shareholders, notably through the IPO targeted for early 2021,” he said on Friday.

Vodafone said it intended to retain a majority stake in Vantage Towers after the listing.

Vodafone’s shares were down 1.8% by 0711 GMT.

The company announced the creation of a European mast company worth upwards of 18 billion euros a year ago. The spin-out, which has more than 68,000 mobile towers across nine European markets, became operational in May.

Vodafone will be Vantage Tower’s anchor tenant, providing around 90% of its revenue at launch, and it aims to add other long-term tenants to its infrastructure, Vodafone said.

Vodafone also said on Friday it created Greece’s largest tower company through a deal with Crystal Almond, the controlling shareholder of Greek mobile operator Wind Hellas, which will be added to Vantage.

Crystal Almond has agreed to acquire 100 million euros ($116.03 million) of shares in the IPO at the IPO price, Vodafone said.

The new company will also include a 33.2% stake in INWIT, Vodafone’s joint venture with Telecom Italia <TLIT.MI>, and Vodafone said it could also add its 50% stake in UK masts company CTIL, its joint venture with Telefonica’s <TEF.MC> O2.

Reuters reported earlier this month that UBS <UBSG.S> and Morgan Stanley <MS.N> were expected to lead the IPO.

Vodafone also reported a 1.3% decline in first-quarter organic service revenue, which it said was mainly due to COVID-19 impacts. It reiterated its guidance for the year.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Jane Merriman)