Polish Play plugs public push

Polish operator Play has announced its intention to to float on the Warsaw stock exchange, in what could be one of the largest telco IPOs in recent years.

The telco itself is seemingly used to grabbing headlines. After just 10 years in existence, the telco has grown to become the second largest player in the Polish market, accounting for just over 27% of market share, while also competing with some of Europe’s big boys including Orange and T-Mobile. Growth has been solid over the last few years, with 2016 recording a 13% jump in revenues to $1.62 billion.

“Play is a unique company in the European telecoms sector. Our revenue growth and profitability outstrips our listed peers, as a result of our focused strategy and our status as Poland’s favourite brand,” said CEO Jørgen Bang-Jensen.

“We have created a business model that enabled a challenger operator to take a market leading position within a few years, while generating free cash flow in line with the best in the industry. Play benefits from consistently strong performance of the Polish economy and the increasing sophistication of our customer base’s use of data, so we believe we can offer investors an unrivalled combination of growth and returns in our sector.”

Some have noted the Play business itself has been operating in a similar manner to that of T-Mobile US, where disruptive pricing strategies have caught the attention of consumers. And it would appear it is not just the price conscious, as local newspaper Rzeczpospolita claimed Play is the fourth most valuable brand in Poland.

The float itself is expected to raise roughly €700 million, which will mainly be used to reduce debt and pay off high-yielding bonds. Details are relatively light for the moment, though considering the IPO market has been relatively quiet in recent months, this will likely attract attention throughout Europe.

The IPO also comes along 12 months after executives tried to sell the business, but weren’t able to find a buyer with deep enough pockets to meet expectations. Another year of positive growth and a subscriber base of 14.3 million might change opinions now however.

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