Orange began preparing to separate its mobile tower assets into a separate entity, following a trend among fellow European operators to cash-in on investor interest in telecoms infrastructure, Financial Times (FT) reported.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said the French operator will update on its tower plan at an investor day on 4 December.

Speaking to FT, Morgan Stanley analyst Emmet Kelly estimated Orange’s towers generate earnings of around €600 million per year and a potential spin-off would be valued at between €8 billion and €10.3 billion.

Orange operates 59,000 towers across its footprint in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, including 15,000 in home market France. It also shares towers with Vodafone in Spain and Deutsche Telekom in Poland.

A deal with Orange would likely interest Spain-based tower specialist Cellnex and a host of private equity and infrastructure funds, FT suggested.

Both Vodafone Group and Deutsche Telekom have separated towers from their core businesses as a way to raise capital, while Telefonica also recently outlined plans to raise cash from its assets.

Orange’s domestic rival Altice raised €2.5 billion in 2018 by selling 49 per cent of its tower business to investment fund KKR.