neuf Cegetel, which provides broadband internet access, fixed line and mobile services in France and is the largest rival to France Télécom, says it plans to float around 20% of the company via an initial public offering (IPO) in the autumn, according to reports in the Financial Times. The operator has published a ‘document de base’, indicating its desire for the sale, which will take place on Euronext. neuf Cegetel announced the IPO at the same time as it released its financials for the first six months of 2006 which showed a small 3% rise in pro forma revenue to EUR1.42 billion (USD1.8 billion) and net profit of EUR107 million, compared with a loss of EUR78 million for 1H’05. Sales were split between consumers, EUR409 million (up 13%), business users, EUR487 million (+8%), and operators EUR527 million (down 6%). Pro forma EBITDA increased from EUR108 million to EUR254 million.
neuf Cegetel hopes to increase its subscriber base to two million DSL accounts when it completes its planned acquisition of AOL France this year. neuf Cegetel is currently 41% owned by SFR, which is in turn owned by Vivendi and the UK’s Vodafone Group. Louis Dreyfus, a family-controlled conglomerate, owns a further 35% of the company, while Suez, the French utility, owns 12%.