Saturday, 10 April 2021

Czech Republic’s richest man eyes $5 billion IPO for telecoms unit

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 16 February 21

Billionaire Petr Kellner has selected banks to help explore the potential for publicly listing Cetin, the Czech Republic’s largest telecoms network

It is being reported today that the Czech Republic’s richest man, Petr Kellner, who majority owns PPF Group, has approached banks to look at the potential listing of its telecoms unit Cetin.   Cetin currently runs the largest data and communications network in the Czech Republic…

It is being reported today that the Czech Republic’s richest man, Petr Kellner, who majority owns PPF Group, has approached banks to look at the potential listing of its telecoms unit Cetin.
 
Cetin currently runs the largest data and communications network in the Czech Republic, managing more than 44,000km of fibre cables and a further 20,000 km of paired copper wires. The company also manages 2G, 3G and 4G LTE mobile services via around 6,200 base stations, covering 99.7% of the Czech population. The company was initially created in 2015 as a spin off from O2 Czech Republic’s infrastructure arm; Kellner’s group had bought a majority stake in O2 from its Spanish owner in 2014. 
 
Just two weeks ago, Cetin announced that its average connection speed had reached 105 Mbps in 2020, up 25 percent year-on-year. The operator says it has plans to cover one million customers with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections by 2027.
 
Now, PPF is working with BNP Paribas SA, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale SA to consider its options for an IPO, with sources suggesting that such a move could value the business at around $4.8 billion.
 
Nonetheless, PPF says they it will remain invested in the telecoms industry, which it considered a sector of “long-term and strategic” importance to the group.
 
The telecoms section is not the only area that Kellner is interested in in 2021. Indeed, three weeks ago, Kellner was proposing the purchase up to a 29% stake in the Republic’s sixth largest bank Moneta Money Bank, in an effort to drive through a merger of PPF’s AirBank and Moneta via a share exchange. The proposal would give Kellner up to a 57.2% stake in Moneta, making it “fairly likely” that this would trigger a mandatory buyout offer for the remaining shares, according to analysts.
 
According to Forbes, Kellner’s network is almost $20 billion.
 
 
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