Numericable hunts for investors as it gears up to float in France

City A.M. Reporter
FRENCH cable operator Numericable kicked off marketing its planned Paris listing to potential investors yesterday, according to an offer document.

The company said last month it planned to sell 20 to 40 per cent of its capital in an initial public offering, including raising between €200m and €250m (£169.7m and £212.2m) from the sale of new shares to cut debt.

Private equity groups Cinven and Carlyle, which each own 37.5 per cent of the company, will also sell some of their shares in the offering, the document seen by Reuters said, although the size of the stake they will offload was still to be confirmed.

In Europe, the listing process typically involves around two weeks of so-called investor education when analysts from the investment banks who are working on a sale present their research to potential investors before a price range for the shares is set.

Order books are then opened for around two weeks, meaning Numericable could make its stock market debut in mid-November.

European cable companies trade at 8.4 to 8.1 enterprise value to 2013-2014 earnings, according to Espirito Santo analysts, compared with 5.5 to 5.3 times for incumbent telecom operators.

Numericable could be worth up to €5bn based on a multiple of around eight times its 2012 core earnings of €456m, plus €181m for its enterprise unit Completel, which it acquired in 2007.

The cable operator has around €2.3bn of debt and Completel holds debt of approximately €450m.

A merger with Vivendi’s SFR, France’s second-biggest mobile operator, was on the cards for Numericable last year but the talks fell apart over valuation and opposition from Vivendi’s largest shareholder Vincent Bollore.

Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan are running the sale.