Ireland’s formerly state-owned telecoms operator Eircom has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to advise it on plans for a stock market listing which, if it goes ahead, will be its third flotation in 15 years. Eircom has released a statement to this end, saying that the two banks will ‘explore strategic options for the company including a potential international offering and listing.’ The move comes just two years after the telco filed for examinership status (akin to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US), in order to restructure some EUR3.75 billion (USD5.20 billion) of debt. The process saw Eircom emerge from examinership – the largest in Ireland’s history – to be taken over by its senior lenders after cutting its total debt by 40%.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month reports in the Irish press suggested that Eircom is considering its third stock market listing since it was first floated in Dublin, London and New York in 1999. The board of Eircom confirmed the plan in a statement published in early April, adding that a number of options are under consideration towards ‘further strengthening the financial position of the Group’. In recent months the telco has made some alterations to its loan arrangement facilities, extending certain repayment terms from 2017 to 2019 in the process. According to the company’s statement, ‘improving the Group’s debt maturity profile has been a key milestone in securing a more sustainable and flexible capital structure for Eircom’.
Eircom was delisted two years after the initial public offering (IPO), following its takeover by Tony O’Reilly-led Valentia consortium. It was floated for a second time in 2004, but de-listed again in 2006. It is estimated to have debts of around EUR2.2 billion (USD3.0 billion) and a stock market listing is seen as a way of generating capital to fund its much needed network upgrade programme.