Vodafone presses-on with 2021 tower IPO plan

Meghann Showers

Vodafone Group nominated former Deutsche Bahn CEO Rudiger Grube for the role of chairman of its Vantage Towers arm, as it continues preparations for an IPO of the infrastructure spin-off next year. In a statement, Vodafone said the executive would join the supervisory board for the tower business and be […]

Vodafone Group nominated former Deutsche Bahn CEO Rudiger Grube for the role of chairman of its Vantage Towers arm, as it continues preparations for an IPO of the infrastructure spin-off next year.

In a statement, Vodafone said the executive would join the supervisory board for the tower business and be appointed as independent chairman subject to his formal election. It plans to appoint all members of the executive team prior to the unit’s IPO.

Prior to his stint at the helm of state-owned German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, Grube held a number of roles at car manufacturer Daimler and was chairman of aerospace company Airbus.

Vodafone first announced plans to move its European tower interests into a single division in 2018, with the operator eventually deciding on a full spin-off of the company and IPO in Frankfurt.

Since detailing the revised plan in 2019 it struck a deal to combine its tower assets in Greece with rival Wind Hellas and move its share of the new business into Vantage Towers. It also appointed its former regional CEO for Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Vivek Badrinath to lead the unit.

Vodafone Group has lofty ambitions for Vantage Towers, which it describes as Europe’s “largest and most geographically diversified tower infrastructure company”.

The company will house an interest in 68,000 sites across nine markets, with a controlling stake of assets in Germany, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary and Ireland.

It will also hold Vodafone’s 33.2 per cent stake of Italian venture Inwit and could eventually include its share of UK JV Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure.

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