Business Irish

Thursday 14 December 2017

Telco Imagine 'likely' to list in early 2008

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

SEÁN Bolger's telecoms company Imagine is "likely" to list in 2008, with a view to raising €40 to €50m for foreign acquisitions.

"We'd be likely to list early next year," said Brian O'Donohoe, Imagine's managing director. "If the market conditions stay as they are you'll see us listing then."

He said the company, which is valued at €105m, began turning a profit earlier this year, and did not need any funding to grow its Irish business.

"The listing would be mainly for buying foreign acquisitions, it would be useful if we could offer sellers paper in a listed company," he said.

Earlier this year Imagine spent €18m on a telecoms business in the Netherlands.

Mr O'Donohoe said his company was in talks on potential acquisitions in France, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Spain and the UK.

"We'd be looking at adding at least one more [company] this side of Christmas," he said, adding that the ideal size would be a company with at least €20m in annual turnover. "What we're looking to create is a pan European operation."

This year Imagine is on target for an €80m turnover, with €20m of this coming from outside of Ireland. Mr O'Donohoe said 2008 should see a turnover of €200m, evenly split between Irish and international markets.

In Ireland, he said that Imagine had now signed up 60,000 residential customers (including 48,000 through subsidiary Gaelic Telecom) and 8,000 business customers. "We began turning a profit earlier this year, and we'd be expecting to make a small seven-figure profit in 2007."

He added that local loop unbundling, which would give telecos cheaper access to telephone infrastructure, would greatly benefit Imagine, as would an eventual mobile phone licence.

London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) is one option being examined for the listing, but Mr O'Donohoe said it would also look at alternative indexes. He said Imagine's existing major shareholders, including Mr Bolger and private equity firm Cazenove, would not use a listing to sell some of their own shares.

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