China’s state-owned tower firm China Tower has applied for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.
With an eye to a valuation of $40 billion, the IPO could raise up to $10 billion for China Tower. The company was set up to prevent the building of redundant telecoms infrastructure in China, with the three major Chinese operators transferring ownership of their tower assets – collectively valued at around $36 billion - to China Tower in 2015.
China Tower has not yet specified a date for the offering, but it is likely to happen in H2 2018. Led by China International Capital Corporation and Goldman Sachs, the offering was slated for earlier this year but is awaiting approvals from both state regulators and the Big Three Chinese operators, each of which owns a stake in the tower firm.
In February, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom all revised their leasing agreements with China Telecom to reduce the associated costs, which had increased steeply.
At the end of 2017, China Tower was operating 1.9 million tower sites with 2.7 million tenants. Across the year, it saw a 23% increase in revenue to CNY68.7 billion yuan ($10.8 billion), with a profit of CNY1.9 billion. It is believed to be the largest owner of telecom towers globally.