Viom Networks plans to invest ₹150 crore in tower expansion

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on December 29, 2014 Published on December 29, 2014

Sunil Kanoria, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Viom

To add up to 1,500 mobile towers in next one year

Viom Networks Ltd is looking to add 1,000-1,500 mobile towers over the next one year at an investment of ₹150 core (or between ₹12 lakh and ₹15 lakh a tower). Last year, it is said to have rolled out a similar number of sites (towers).

The company’s current expansion comes as a 500 per cent increase over the 2012-13 period, when the industry was hit by the 2G scam and controversy over spectrum allocation.

New towers would consist of a mixture of urban in-fills (smaller towers between two larger ones), rural lite-anchor ones (that require less space with high profitability) and conventional ground sites.

According to Sunil Kanoria, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Viom is banking on growth in data services. This apart, rollout of 4G services would see increased demand for towers.

“We have started seeing good growth over the last six to seven months. New tower additions will mostly be funded through internal accruals,” he told BusinessLine.

Gurgaon-based Viom is currently the second largest telecom tower company with nearly 42,000 towers and a tenancy ratio (no of users per tower) of 2.3.

It reported a net profit of approximately ₹100 crore against a turnover of ₹5,000 crore for FY-14, according to company sources.

IPO plans

Meanwhile, Kanoria maintained that Viom is yet to take a call on listing. However, listing, if it is at all done, will be in India as against its initial plans of listing overseas.

“We had initially thought of listing overseas. But since markets in India have improved, we are now exploring listing options here,” he said. The company intends to mop up close to ₹1,500 crore through the public offering. The toss-up is between listing or, bringing in a new investor.

New investor

Bringing in a new investor would mean the existing promoters – Tatas and the Srei-led consortium of PEs bringing down their stakes.

Kanoria, who is also the Vice-Chairman of Srei infrastructure Finance Ltd, maintained that no call has yet been taken on Srei bringing down its stake in Viom.

“Both options - listing and bringing-in a new investor – are still open,” he said.

Srei holds over 18 per cent in Viom; Tata Teleservices hold over 54 per cent and the remaining is held by PE investors, including IDFC Private Equity, SBI Macquarie, Oman Investment Fund and GIC of Singapore.

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Published on December 29, 2014
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