Vodafone said to be seeking NZD1bn tower sale

4 Mar 2022

Bloomberg reports that Vodafone New Zealand is seeking prospective buyers for its mobile phone towers that provide coverage to about 98% of the country’s population. According to a presentation sent to potential investors and seen by Bloomberg News, the operator’s sale of approximately 1,487 cell sites is expected to generate EBITDA of more than NZD50 million (USD33.9 million) in the financial year starting 1 April 2022. The assets, considered to be New Zealand’s largest tower portfolio, could be valued at as much as NZD1.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said separately, asking not to be identified as the process is private. The towers on sale have an average lease term of about 13 years, while 290 more sites will be added by the year ending March 2027, the presentation showed.

Vodafone New Zealand is owned by Wellington-based Infratil and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management, which purchased the local unit of Vodafone Group in 2019 for NZD3.4 billion. Infratil said in November that it was weighing ‘network capital release options’ for the business.

Rival mobile network operator (MNO) Spark announced plans last month to establish a subsidiary company named Spark TowerCo, with the aim to ‘improve the performance, utilisation, and capital efficiency’ of its portfolio of around 1,500 mobile sites. The company said it intends to commence a process in the second half of FY22 to explore the introduction of third-party capital into Spark TowerCo, although it stressed there is no certainty that a transaction will proceed.

New Zealand, Vodafone New Zealand