Business / Companies

China Tower sets sights on listing next year

By Ma Si (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-02 08:12

China Tower to raise funds from stock market to diversify

China Tower Corp, a joint venture created to handle the tower assets of the country's top three telecom carriers, is planning to go public in 2017 as part of broader efforts to diversify.

The news came shortly after China Tower announced on Friday it had completed an injection of 203.5 billion yuan ($30.8 billion) worth of telecommunications tower assets from shareholders China Mobile Communications Corp, China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd and China Telecommunications Corp.

A spokesman for the infrastructure company said it was "scrambling to complete all preparatory works this year, so that it can be listed in 2017", but declined to disclose more details such as where that listing might be, or its value.

China Mobile and its two smaller rivals established China Tower in 2014 by pooling their assets to reduce duplicate construction and expenditure, as the country rolls out faster networks.

China Tower said earlier this month it has saved the three carriers 50 billion yuan last year by completing 485,000 telecom tower projects, about 265,000 units less than what is needed if these companies build towers on their own.

Xiang Ligang, founder of the telecom industry website, said the listing plan comes as China Tower is preparing for a possible branch into business beyond the telecom sector.

"Though the big three telecom operators have transferred lots of assets to China Tower, most are in the form of fixed assets like infrastructure equipments. The company is short of cash," Xiang said.

"It wants to raise money from the stock market to boost its cash flow and expand business into areas such as building electric charging stations for the possible electric car boom in China."

Fu Liang, an industry expert, said China Tower holds substantial appeal for investors.

"Given its important role in the country's telecom industry, the State-owned company will have stable revenues and profits and is unlikely to go bankrupt, which will lure in a lot of investors," Fu said.

The big three telecom carriers own 94 percent of China Tower (China Mobile 38 percent, China Unicom 28.1 percent, China Telecom 27.9 percent), with China Reform Holdings Corp, a government-backed investment firm, holding the remaining 6 percent, which it bought in October.

"The three carriers' stakes will be further diluted with the entry of new investors," Fu said.

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