Wednesday 24 February 2021 8:09 am

Vodafone confirms Frankfurt float for mobile masts business

Vodafone has confirmed plans to float its mobile masts division on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange by the end of March.

The mobile network launched Vantage Towers last year in a bid to cash in on its lucrative infrastructure amid tough competition in the telecoms market.

Read more: Former EE boss Olaf Swantee joins Vodafone

The company operates 82,000 towers across 10 European markets and has set out plans to build a further 7,100 sites over the next five years.

Vodafone has previously said the initial public offering will help raise funds to pay down its ballooning debt pile.

The company did not set a target valuation for the float, but Bloomberg yesterday reported a potential price tag of at least €15bn (£12.8bn), below previous analyst estimates.

Vodafone promised significant returns for shareholders, saying Vantage Towers would pay out €280m this financial year, while its future dividend policy will be to pay out 60 per cent of free cash flow.

“The IPO is an important milestone and sets the foundation for the next stage of our growth within the dynamic towers industry,” said Vantage Towers chief executive Vivek Badrinath.

“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, which rents out space to other operators, is one of a number of companies looking to cash in on increased demand for telecoms infrastructure amid the rollout of 5G and higher demand for data.

Read more: Three owner CK Hutchison nears €10bn tower sale to Cellnex

Three owner CK Hutchison last year sold its European masts business to Cellnex in a €10bn deal. Cellnex previously expanded its mobile masts portfolio in 2019 after snapping up more than 7,000 sites from British rival Arqiva.

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and UBS are acting as joint global coordinators on the Vantage Towers float, while Barclays, Berenberg, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Jefferies are joint bookrunners.