Business Irish

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Goodbody puts €155m-valued Towercom masts up for sale

Nick Webb

Towercom, the former Eircom masts business that was bought by Goodbody private clients in a €155m deal in 2007, is up for sale, according to sources. "A process is under way," according to an informed source.

A consortium of investors led by Goodbody and made up of wealthy high rollers – Tony Killarney's Threefold Project Management and US special situations fund Plainfield Asset Management – bought the 338-mast infrastructure business from Eircom during the boom. AIB financed the deal, with Matheson advising.

A spokesman for Goodbody declined to comment.

Since the 2007 deal was done, Towercom has expanded rapidly and now owns or operates over 400 wireless masts around the country.

The rollout of 4G mobile services in the future will see a massive investment by operators to boost infrastructure to provide the superfast mobile broadband.

However, operating large mast networks is extremely expensive and there has been widespread consolidation in the sector across Europe.

Last year, Vodafone and Three agreed a deal to share their 2,000 mobile phone masts across the country in a move to cut costs and improve efficiencies.

It is not clear what price tag may be attached to the Towercom business or what kind of returns may be generated by the initial investors. It is thought that some €100m in debt was raised for the buyout, with Goodbody private clients stumping up about €40m.

Most recent figures show that Towercom generated pre-tax profits of €4.3m off sales of €13.5m in 2011. Filings suggest that Goodbody private clients own around 68 per cent of the Towercom holding company.

In 2010, Eircom was said to have paid €9m to settle a lawsuit taken by Towercom's new owners over allegations that certain warranties had been breached.

Towercom had initially sought damages of €22m when launching the lawsuit.

Irish Independent

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