London Stock Exchange gets a boost as Manx Telecom eyes £156m float

Manx Telecom, one of two mobile operators on the Isle of Man, has announced plans to float on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) where it hopes to raise £156 million.

The operator’s arrival on London's junior stock market, planned for next Monday, is set to be the largest telecoms listing in Britain and Ireland since Eircom in 2004.

The firm said it will  list shares for 142p each. HgCapital and CPS Partners, the private equity firms that acquired Manx Telecom from Spain's Telefonica in 2010, will sell their stake in the company for a combined £67.2 million, while Manx Telecom will issue new shares to raise £89 million.

“The IPO will be a new chapter for Manx Telecom as a fully independent quoted company,” said CEO Mike Dee, who helped set up the group with BT and has served at the company for 28 years.

The proceeds will be used to help the operator roll out its own 4G network, built on Huawei’s infrastructure, later this year. They will also go towards helping the company pay down its debts.

“The business is well-placed to take advantage of further on-Island growth opportunities due principally to demand for 4G, faster broadband and data hosting services," said Dee. "Expansion will also be driven by growth in off-Island services based on Manx Telecom’s mobile technology platform.”

Manx Telecom has a monopoly on the fixed line services on the Isle of Man and also accounts for 76 percent of the island’s mobile market, with the remainder being met by newcomer Sure Mobile.

The news comes after Marcus Stuttard, who heads up the UK Primary Markets and the Alternative Investment Market at the London Stock Exchange, told Techworld that firms can raise just as much money in London as they can overseas, despite some saying that tech firms can raise 300 to 500 percent more if they list in New York.

The listing makes Manx Telecom one of the first tech companies to list on the London Stock Exchange this year, pipping Bath-based analytics firm Actual Experience to the post.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) saw a record number of tech IPOs in 2013 with 36 companies raising over a £1 billion.

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