Play IPO valued at more than €1bn

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Poland's Play Communications expects its upcoming IPO to become one of the biggest in recent telecoms history after valuing shares at more than €1 billion

Play Communications has revealed expectations that its upcoming listing on the Warsaw stock exchange will raise up to €1.03 billion, making it one of the biggest telecoms IPOs in Europe’s recent history.

The flotation will see Play, Poland’s second biggest mobile firm, put 121.6 million existing shares – around 48% of its equity – up o the market at 36 zloty ($9.78) each. This would see Play valued at around €2.2 billion ($2.5 billion).

The flotation will be Poland’s biggest ever, excluding the privatisation of state-owned entities, according to the Financial Times, although it is at the lower end of original estimates put forward by Play when it first unveiled its plans.

“Play is a unique company in the European telecoms sector. Our revenue growth and profitability outstrips our listed peers, as a result of our focused strategy and our status as Poland’s favourite brand,” said CEO Jørgen Bang-Jensen.

“We have created a business model that enabled a challenger operator to take a market leading position within a few years, while generating free cash flow in line with the best in the industry. Play benefits from consistently strong performance of the Polish economy and the increasing sophistication of our customer base’s use of data, so we believe we can offer investors an unrivalled combination of growth and returns in our sector.”

Play has been operation for a decade but has built itself into the second largest operator in the market, despite competing with subsidiaries from a number of European telco giants including Orange and T-Mobile.

It has accumulated substantial debt, which part of the funds generated from the IPO is likely to pay off, but growth at the firm has been strong – in 2016 it recorded a 13% growth in revenue to $1.62 billion. Market share has increased from less than 5% in 2008 to more than 27% this year.