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Vodafone (VOD) Aims to Raise Solid Funds From Towers Unit IPO

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Vodafone Group Plc VOD is aiming to raise capital to the tune of €2 billion ($2.4 billion) from the IPO (initial public offering) of Vantage Towers — its mobile-phone towers unit in Frankfurt. The transaction is likely to be one of the biggest equity market listings in the region in 2021.

With more than 68,000 towers across nine European countries, Vantage Towers is one of the leading tower infrastructure providers in the continent. The company generally inks long-term contractual commitments with highly rated tenants, which provide resilient and predictable revenue stream. It largely focuses on sustainable infrastructure development to minimize the environmental impact. An extensive geographic footprint and strong relationships with leading mobile operators has enabled Vantage Towers to generate healthy long-term, inflation-linked returns over the years.

Vodafone intends to sell Vantage Towers shares at €22.5-29 each. The company is likely to utilize the proceeds to reduce its debt burden. Notably, carriers like Vodafone had been plagued by intense price competition and government regulations, while the COVID-19 adversities added to the woes. Consequently, the company is aiming to rake in significant money from its tower assets, with surging demand for increased 5G deployment fueling massive industry consolidation and restructuring.

Vodafone is also focusing on rolling out superfast 5G technology throughout the United Kingdom. It has inked an agreement with Openreach, the digital networking business unit of BT Group Plc, to extend its broadband coverage in the country. The deal enabled Vodafone to offer its Gigafast Broadband service to three new cities in the United Kingdom, namely Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool through Openreach’s Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

The FTTP network of Openreach is one of the most extensive broadband networks in the United Kingdom. It is expected to provide Vodafone an unrivalled coverage to promote its services and thereby augment subscriber base. The Vantage Towers IPO is likely to offer additional resources to the company to fuel its growth engine.

Riding on such growth drivers, the stock has gained 20.1% over the past year while the industry has declined 12%.

Vodafone currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader industry are Plantronics, Inc. PLT, sporting a Zacks Rank #1, (Strong Buy) and Corning Incorporated GLW and Viavi Solutions Inc. VIAV, both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Plantronics delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 560.4%, on average.

Corning has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 2%. It delivered a positive earnings surprise of 41.6%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.

Viavi delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 20.2%, on average.

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Corning Incorporated (GLW) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Viavi Solutions Inc. (VIAV) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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