Vodafone Group rebranded its infrastructure spin-off as Vantage Towers and unveiled a deal to combine its tower assets in Greece with Wind Hellas, moves announced alongside its fiscal Q1 results.
The company plans to float Vantage Towers on the Frankfurt stock exchange in early 2021, by which point Vodafone plans to be able to include its 62 per cent stake in a new tower company being created in Greece.
At float, Vantage Towers is expected to control 68,000 towers across nine European markets. Preparations for the IPO are already underway with Vodafone CEO Nick Read detailing the plan to create the business, originally called TowerCo, in 2019 following a review of the assets.
Formation of the Greek tower business will be the result of a newly-struck agreement with Crystal Almond, the controlling shareholder of operator Wind Hellas, to combine its assets with Vodafone Greece.
The deal will involve 5,200 towers being rolled into Vantage Towers Greece, with Crystal Almond receiving €25 million in cash and retaining 38 per cent of the combined company. The tie-up is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete by the end of 2020.
Updates on its tower plan came during Vodafone’s fiscal Q1 trading update, covering the three months to end-June.
During the quarter, it reported a 1.4 per cent year-on-year drop in revenue to €10.5 billion, largely attributed to issues related to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Net profit is not reported in its quarterly updates.
Read said its performance demonstrated “the relative resilience of our operating model”.
“Whilst we have seen the direct impact on our revenue from travel restrictions and business project delays, we have also seen increased usage in voice and data, alongside record NGN [next generation network] broadband customer net additions in Europe.”
As with its peers in other markets, the operator cited lower earnings from roaming hitting its figures. It also noted there had been a drop in activity from the automotive sector in its enterprise IoT segment.