CK Hutchison has doubled down on the Italian market by giving Veon €2.45 billion for the half of Wind Tre it didn’t already own.
Labelling it Italy’s leading operator, Hutch wittered on about how this is a key step in consolidating its telecoms assets, how this would allow it to continue driving synergies and bits of corporate gibberish. In fact, according to Ovum’s WCIS, Wind Tre is the second Italian MNO by subscriber with 28.5 million, while TIM has 31 mil.
“We are delighted to become sole owners of Wind Tre, which gives us the strongest possible platform to drive increased and recurring value for our shareholders, said Canning Fok, Group Co-Managing Director of CK Hutchison. “Having pioneered mobile technology and digital leadership in Italy for over 15 years, CK Hutchison looks forward to continuing to invest in Italy’s digital future, benefitting consumers and businesses across the country.”
Veon, meanwhile, is mainly going to use the cash to pay off some debts and get its leverage ratio down to 1.8x. Around a billion dollars of it will be spent on buying the assets of Global Telecom Holding in Pakistan and Bangladesh, along with 1.6 billion of new debt, which presumably makes sense to Veon’s accountants.
“Our goal is to drive greater value for our shareholders through a more focused and optimized portfolio” said Ursula Burns, Executive Chairman of Veon. “To this end, the company has identified four immediate priorities: simplifying the group’s structure, increasing our operational focus on emerging markets, strengthening the group’s balance sheet and supporting the company’s current dividend policy. Today’s transactions are important steps towards this goal.
“We intend to provide a more comprehensive update on Veon’s strategy in the coming weeks, which will cover, among other things, our ambition to deliver operational excellence across our portfolio, supported by a refocused and expert HQ that provides strategic expertise and direction to our businesses.”