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Vodafone NZ float on the cards for 2019, FT reports

Monday 17th September 2018

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Vodafone Group's incoming chief executive Nick Read says a float of the New Zealand unit is on the cards next year. 

Read told The Financial Times the company is tidying up its global operations and that a float of Vodafone New Zealand would probably take place in 2019. 

The local Vodafone unit cooled on the prospect of an initial public offering earlier this year after drumming up support for a listing in 2017. A spokeswoman for Vodafone NZ today said the official stance on IPO hasn't changed since April.

"We'll consider a float in the future if market conditions are right," she said. 

Vodafone New Zealand reported a 16 percent slide in annual profit to $39.9 million, even as revenue edged up 0.2 percent to $2.03 billion in the last financial year, with adviser fees for the canned float depressing the result. 

The local Vodafone unit is also in for a change of leadership, with former Spark New Zealand executive Jason Paris taking over as CEO from October.

Russell Stanners has run the New Zealand branch for 12 years, taking it from a pure mobile company to an integrated telecommunications group, with acquisitions including TelstraClear, WorldxChange, and more recently Farmside. He missed out on building a vertically integrated media telecommunications group last year when the Commerce Commission rejected a proposed merger with pay-TV group Sky Network Television.

The UK group is also restructuring its Australian operations, where the Vodafone brand is run by Vodafone Hutchison Australia, a joint venture between ASX-listed Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) and Vodafone Group.

Last month Vodafone Hutchison and ASX-listed TPG Telecom proposed an A$15 billion merger. The enlarged entity would be 50.1 percent owned by Vodafone Hutchison shareholders, which include Spark, with TPG shareholders owning the remaining 49.9 percent. 

(BusinessDesk)

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