Vocus Group has appointed financial advisers to execute an initial public offering (IPO) of Vocus New Zealand, an integrated telecoms services and energy provider that is the country’s third largest ISP by subscribers. The IPO is expected to be undertaken before the end of June 2021, subject to prevailing market conditions. ‘The Board considers that a successful IPO of Vocus New Zealand will provide greater balance sheet flexibility to the Vocus Group allowing Vocus Network Services to invest in core long-term strategic fibre opportunities to extend its network reach, build on its product capabilities and cement its position as Australia’s specialist fibre and network solutions provider,’ Vocus Group said in its ASX announcement. Goldman Sachs, Jarden and Craigs have been appointed as Joint Lead Managers of the process. Vocus plans to release further details with its half-year results in February 2021.
Vocus said its NZ business, which was founded in 2014 following the acquisition of FX Networks and includes brands such as Slingshot and Orcon, was led by an experienced and highly capable management team and had established itself as a very strongly positioned challenger within the New Zealand market, enabling it to deliver consistent EBITDA growth over the past five years. The company had 226,000 broadband subscribers at 30 June 2020.
In October 2017 Vocus Group announced its intention to sell off the NZ business by mid-2018 to allow it to concentrate on its domestic ISP business. However, it ended all discussions over a potential sale in April 2018 after failing to receive any suitable offers. Following the collapse of acquisition talks with EQT International and AGL, Vocus announced plans in June 2019 to split into three independent units – Vocus Network Services, Vocus Retail and Vocus New Zealand.