Vodafone is preparing for an IPO for its European mobile tower business in 2021 with the company also reporting a decline in revenues due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Service revenue fell by 1.3 per cent to €8.99 billion for the quarter, with declines in roaming, automotive and prepaid revenues cited as consequences of Covid-19.
However the operator’s recent restructure is continuing apace. The firm spun off its tower assets into a separate entity last year with the intention of monetising the infrastructure.
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Vantage Towers, as the unit is now known, has 68,00 towers across nine European countries and has a senior management team in place. Naturally, Vodafone is the anchor tenant and the company is promising investors predictable cash flows with inflation-linked contractual arrangements with customers.
Separately, Vodafone has a tower joint-venture with Telecom Italia in Italy and has just entered into an agreement with Wind Hellas in Greece. Group CEO Nick Read says there is a possibility that towers from Vodafone’s UK joint-venture with Telefonica could be added to Vantage’s footprint in the future.
However the main focus is on a planned flotation of the business on the Frankfurt stock market next year.
“Whilst we have seen the direct impact on our revenue from travel restrictions and business project delays, we have also seen increased usage in voice and data, alongside record NGN broadband customer net additions in Europe,” Read said.
“A year ago, I set out a three-phase plan for our towers to deliver industrial synergies from network infrastructure sharing, generate operational efficiencies by establishing a dedicated towers management team, and unlock value for our shareholders through the IPO of Vantage Towers, which is firmly on track for early 2021.
“The role Vodafone plays in society has never been more important, particularly as the markets in which we operate continue to face challenging conditions. We have executed well in delivering on our social contract to provide fast and reliable connectivity for our customers. We will continue to work collaboratively with governments and policy makers to create the right environment for investment in essential services and ensure our customers receive the best overall experience.”
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