24 Apr 2018

Slingshot, Orcon parent invests more after failing to sell

4:31 pm on 24 April 2018

Australian-listed telecommuncations company Vocus has failed to find a buyer for its New Zealand business and now plans to invest in them to lift earnings.

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The company operates local broadband providers Orcon and Slingshot, but put then up for sale last year because they were not regarded as core business and Vocus planned to use the proceeds to repay debt.

Vocus chairman Bob Mansfield said it received plenty of offers but not at the right price.

"None of these offers appropriately reflected the fundamental and strategic value of Vocus NZ nor provided sufficient certainty of funding and execution."

The two businesses have an estimated 16 percent of the New Zealand broadband market, with revenue in the six months ended December of $AU182.6 million ($NZ195m).

He said the company would now hang on to the New Zealand businesses.

"Vocus NZ is an excellent business with strong leadership, an attractive growth profile, a clear competitive position and a track record of delivering solid returns on capital. The Board intends to continue to invest in and grow Vocus NZ."

Vocus group half-year profits fell 25 percent in Australia as it lost fixed-line customers and over-estimated the profitability of its broadband business.

Mr Mansfield said its lenders had eased the conditions of the company's borrowing agreement, while it was close to appointing a group of banks to arrange a complete refinancing of Vocus's debt facilities.