Eircom planning €1bn float

Telecoms

by Michael Moore| 23 June 2014

Joint London and Dublin listing comes two years after operator filed for bankruptcy.

Ireland's largest telecoms company Eircom is reportedly planning for a flotation which could value the business at more than €3bn.

The operator is in the final stages of plans for a joint listing in both London and Dublin which it hopes will raise around €1bn only two years after it emerged from bankruptcy.

The majority of this raise will be used to reduce Eircom's reported €2.3bn debt pile, a hangover from when the firm defaulted on its debts and filed for bankruptcy in February 2012 before being taken over by its senior lenders.

The fall was the largest in Irish financial history, with Eircom declaring nearly €3.75bn of debts. The company's holdings are now made up of over 200 investors who converted their senior debt holdings to equity in June 2012.

The floatation, apparently still in its preliminary stages, will probably not take place before September, and may even be delayed until next year as the company finalises its plans, with a spokesperson only saying that "We continue to review strategic options... (a) listing remains one option.".

The decision comes as part of a strategic options review being carried out by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Eircom's joint financial advisers since April.

The deal would be Eircom's third float since it was privatised by the Irish government in 1999, and mark its seventh change of ownership in the past 15 years, which includes spells of both public and private ownerships. The company says it has over two million customers in Ireland, including just over a million subscribers to its Meteor and eMobile mobile networks.

The news comes weeks after Eircom's fellow Irish operator, O2 Ireland, was cleared for a €1bn takeover by Hutchinson Whampoa. The Hong-Kong based company, best known for its ownership of Three, will acquire O2 Ireland from parent company Telefonica before merging it with its current operations to create a new network with around 40% of the total Irish market share and over two million customers.

 

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