Com Hem confirms IPO
May 23, 2014
By Colin Mann
Swedish triple-play operator Com Hem has announced its intention to proceed with an Initial Public Offering on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm.
Anders Nilsson, CEO of Com Hem said that in the past few years, the company had made “significant” investments in the network, new products and the operations, which would enable it fully to capture its potential. “Com Hem has the fastest broadband offering in 80 per cent of our cable footprint, last year we launched the leading digital TV offering with TiVo in Sweden and we have made an accelerated entry into the B2B segment through the acquisition of Phonera Företag this year,” he stated.
Andrew Barron, Chairman of Com Hem said the operator was excited about the future prospects of Com Hem as a public company given its well-invested network and high quality products. “We have assembled a strong and experienced management team to lead the Company on its journey to reach its full potential,” he added.
Nikos Stathopoulos, Managing Partner at BC Partners said that becoming a public company was a natural next step for Com Hem as it would broaden its shareholder base, provide financial flexibility by reducing leverage and enhance the Company’s growth prospects. “We will continue to support Com Hem, its strong management team and staff and we welcome new shareholders to take part in the future development of Com Hem,” he confirmed.
Com Hem’s principal beneficial shareholders since 2011 are funds advised by BC Partners Limited through the holding company NorCell S.à r.l.
The IPO will primarily consist of new ordinary shares issued by the Company. Gross proceeds of the primary issue are expected to be around SEK 5.5 billion (€610 million) and will be used by the Company to reduce the group’s indebtedness and provide additional financial flexibility. A potential sale of existing shares may be offered by NorCell S.à r.l.
J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Nordea are acting as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners, Carnegie is joint bookrunner and Rothschild is financial advisor to the Company and the owners.
The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the Offering to reduce net leverage to correspond to approximately 4.15x net debt / Underlying EBITDA as of June 30, 2014, pro forma for Phonera Företag consolidation. This will be achieved through refinancing of the Company’s existing Senior Credit Facilities, full redemption of the Senior PIK Notes and a redemption of up to 35 per cent of the amount outstanding under the 2019 Senior Notes. In the medium term, the Company will target leverage of 3.5x to 4.0x net debt / Underlying EBITDA.
Com Hem Highlights
- Sweden is one of the most attractive cable markets in Europe, with a growing pay-TV and broadband market as well as strong macroeconomic fundamentals
- Com Hem is the largest cable operator in Sweden with approximately 1.83 million Swedish homes connected, representing 39 per cent of total Swedish homes
- Com Hem is the number one digital TV operator in Sweden with approximately 61 per cent in-footprint market share and the number two broadband operator nationwide and number one operator in-footprint with 44 per cent market share as of March 31, 2014
- Com Hem operates one of the most technologically-advanced, EuroDocsis 3.0 upgraded cable networks in Europe providing 500 Mbps broadband download speeds to 92 per cent of the cable homes, unmatched by competition on at least 80 per cent of the cable footprint
- The Company’s leading TiVo based digital television offering was launched in October 2013, providing the market’s richest content offering regardless if on the big screen or on Com Hem’s TiVoToGo, TV everywhere solution. It includes next generation functionality such as Start Over, Catch-Up TV, keyword search, series-link, remote record and 500 hours of storage space
- Com Hem’s growth strategy is driven by (i) its best-in-class broadband offering enabled by its superior network, (ii) its market leading digital TV offering powered by TiVo, (iii) shift in sales strategy from single products to product bundles and (iv) monetisation of the B2B growth opportunity on the back of the recently acquired B2B operator, Phonera Företag
- The Company’s senior management team has in-depth sector experience with decades of combined experience in the telecommunications and media sectors and a proven track record of implementing growth strategies in other cable companies, including Virgin Media