Israeli fixed line operator Golden Lines plans to make a public offering on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in an attempt to raise around USD70 million to fund the expansion of its broadband services, according to local newspaper Globes. ‘The share issue will enable us to finance further development of our range of services, especially broadband and WiMAX-based telephony services,’ Golden Lines CEO Stella Handler told the paper. ‘We expect in the near future to use the proceeds raised through the issue to strengthen the company’s equity structure by repaying some of its liabilities, as well as increasing our market share, by developing and penetrating new services activities.’ Deutsche Bank and Panmure Gordon & Co have been appointed underwriters for the sale. Golden Lines is majority owned by Israeli group Fishman, which bought Telecom Italia’s 26.4% holding in mid-2005 for a reported USD25 million. As part of the deal Fishman sold its 30% stake in the Med Nautilus submarine fibre-optic cable to the Italian telco.
The telco made the announcement as it revealed its financial and operating results for 2005. Golden Lines posted revenues of ILS639 million (USD137 million) and EBITDA of ILS130 million for the year ended 31 December 2005. The company said it ended the year with 630,000 registered customers, including 190,000 broadband internet users. Golden Lines estimated it had a 30% share of Israel’s international telephony market and a 16% share in the broadband sector.