Vocus Communications nears sale of ANZ assets, sets 2018 deadline

Vocus to offload New Zealand business and Australian data centres

Vocus puts its New Zealand assets on the block

Mark Wratten, Vocus Group chief financial officer, says the Vocus Group board "has now determined that the Vocus New Zealand business will be prepared for sale".

Vocus' NZ business operates separately to the Australian business, including overhead and related costs.

Sydney-based Vocus yesterday said the board has chose to sell the New Zealand assets and was in the final stages of appointing an adviser with a view to wrapping up a sale by the end of the financial year on June 30, 2018.

At an investor briefing yesterday, the company said it would sell the New Zealand business and the Australian data centres with the proceeds going to pay down debt.

Vocus NZ also has a small but fast-growing retail power business, Switch Utilities, with 4704 (most signed since June) Orcon and Slingshot customers now getting Switch electricity bundled with their broadband.

Vocus has remained profitable overall, but a series of profit downgrades saw its shares fall from an all-time high of $A9.40 past year to a recent $A2.35.

In its market update today, Vocus also confirmed its guidance for 2017-18, with revenue expected between $A1.9 billion and $A2 billion, underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between $A370 million and $A390 million, and underlying net profit of between $A140 million and $A150 million. It has also been subject to a number of takeover bids this year which include offers from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Affinity Equity Partners.

NBR will have analyst and potential buyer reaction as the New Zealand business week begins tomorrow.

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