‘Market uncertainty’ halts Arqiva IPO

The UK-based telecoms manager is expected to proceed with the offering in the new year.

British telecoms group Arqiva has postponed its planned IPO less than two weeks after announcing plans to raise £1.5 billion ($2 billion; €1.7 billion) on London’s stock exchange.

The company cited a wider “market uncertainty” as its reason to delay the offering, which had been scheduled to take place this month. However, it still plans a listing – which is likely to take place next year, a spokesman confirmed. He pointed to food manufacturer Bakkavor also pulling plans to float, while Russian energy group En+ listed in London yesterday at the bottom end of its pricing range.

“The board and shareholders have decided that pursuing a listing in this period of IPO market uncertainty is not in the interests of the company and its stakeholders, and will revisit the listing once IPO market conditions improve,” Arqiva said in a statement to the market.

The flotation of at least 25 percent of the company was expected to value the business at £6 billion and had been called after attempts to secure a private sale – a source of dispute among some of the shareholders, insiders said – failed to materialise, partly due to sizeable debts held by Arqiva.

The Arqiva spokesman told Infrastructure Investor that, while the company “wouldn’t rule anything out”, the private sale route “is unlikely to be the way forward”.

Arqiva is owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (48 percent), Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II (25 percent), IFM Global Infrastructure Fund (14.8 percent), First State Super (5.4 percent), MTAA Super (5.2 percent) and two Macquarie-affiliated minorities (1.5 percent). The shareholders had planned to only sell shares through a 15 percent over-allotment option.

Arqiva owns about 16,000 TV, radio and mobile phone masts in addition to managing a network of up to 12 million smart-meter premises.