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Cablecom prepares to go public

Speculation about Cablecom's future has been rife for months

(Keystone)

Switzerland's biggest cable operator, Cablecom, has announced plans to list its shares on the Swiss stock exchange (SWX) by the end of October.

The company, which provides television and telephone services, said that going public should help it become number two on the Swiss telecommunications market.

Speculation about Cablecom's future has been rife for the past three months. The company admitted during the summer that it had been considering options and that potential buyers had regularly approached it in recent years.

Two banks have been chosen to act as coordinators for the Initial Public Offering (IPO): Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley. Cablecom has already requested a listing at the Swiss bourse.

The cable provider wants to use the funds raised by the IPO to fuel its growth.

Cablecom's CEO, Bruno Claude, says his company hopes to overtake Sunrise, owned by Denmark's TDC, as the second-biggest telecommunications company in Switzerland, behind Swisscom.

Mobile move

Cablecom already supplies television and telephone services, but has yet to move into the lucrative mobile-phone market. It has, however, begun hiring employees for a planned mobile service.

Three investment firms currently own 53 per cent of the company: Apollo Management, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and TowerBrook Capital Partners.

These three shareholders, which bought Cablecom from struggling British firm NTL in 2003, have an equal share in the cable provider. Banks own the rest of the company.

Over the first six months of the year, Cablecom's sales rose 17 per cent compared with the same period in 2004, reaching SFr406.2 million.

Last year, total sales reached SFr723.3 million, 11 per cent better than in 2003.

But this was not enough to avoid a loss of SFr202.7 million, compared with a SFr1.85 billion profit in 2002.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Cablecom had sales of SFr406.2 million for the first six months of the year.
The company employs 1,715 people.
1.5 million households subscribe to Cablecom's telephone and telephone services.
The company has 150,000 customers for its phone services just one year after their launch.

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