South African operator Cell C is planning to hold an IPO in 2020 as it seeks to raise funds for acquisitions, Bloomberg reported.

Speaking in an interview, CEO Jose Dos Santos said the exact timing of the share sale will depend on conditions and the company will focus on boosting its internet and data services business in the meantime.

Cell C has not been without its problems, but it is looking at its next steps after successfully emerging from a debt-restructuring plan which gave Blue Label Telecoms a 45 per cent stake in the operator.

The deal enabled Cell C to reduce debt by more than 70 per cent in 2017.

“The fundamental thing is that we raise additional capital,” said Santos. “We have some nice acquisitions that we are looking at. We are moving into media and content, and we have a strong fibre to the home play.”

Following the debt restructuring, Santos outlined aims to increase network spend and step up competition with larger rivals MTN and Vodacom.

The company made no secret of its aims to grow since reducing its debt. In January, Santos told Bloomberg it was looking for deals to boost its internet offering and in financial services.

Despite its growth plans, Cell C is struggling to turn a profit: it reported a loss of ZAR645 million ($45.1 million) in the first half of the year.

Analyst Ron Klipin told Bloomberg the results showed the company was “still struggling” and needed a cash injection soon.