Viom Networks, the country’s largest independent mobile tower company, is planning to initiate initial public offering (IPO) proceedings from January.

“We plan to go ahead with IPO proceedings from January next year,” Sunil Kanoria, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Viom Networks said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event – “World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spirituality” - organised by SREI Foundation.

According to him, the company is yet to finalise the IPO details or the amount of money that it intends to raise.

Viom is a joint venture between Tata Teleservices (54 per cent) and a consortium led by the Kanorias of Srei. It has over 40,000 mobile tower sites and a per tower tenancy ratio of 2.4.

Kanoria said that he was not bothered by the poor response from retail investors towards the Bharti Infratel IPO. 

Investing in a tower company would suit those who are looking at returns slightly higher than debt over a long period, said Kanoria.

That might see less interest from domestic retail investors, interested in windfall.

According to Kanoria, pull out by several telcos and withdrawal of operations has impacted Viom’s revenues. The company, which was planning to break-even this fiscal, is now planning to break even by 2013-14.

“We could have broken even this year (fiscal). But because many operators have gone away, so the revenue has come down. Next year (2013-14) we should break even,” Kanoria said.

The company, however, has been EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) positive for the last five year.

He, however, did not mention the drop in revenues that the company witnessed with some of the telcos moving out.

Uninor’s Exit

According to Kanoria, Uninor exiting Kolkata and rest of West Bengal and other circles would impact its revenues and tenancy. Uninor accounted for 20 per cent of Viom’s revenues and was its second largest customer after Tata Teleservices.

“Tenancy in the short-run will come down. But we expect it to be addressed in the next six to nine months,” Kanoria said.

Telenor’s share in Viom’s revenue is likely to come down to around 14 -15 per cent, he said.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 23, 2012)
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