China Tower IPO may raise $13.4b

HONG KONG • China Tower Corp, the state-owned wireless infrastructure operator, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong that could match the city's biggest since 2010.

While the world's largest telecoms tower service provider did not give a fund-raising target or proposed timing of the sale in its filing dated Monday, the IPO may raise about US$10 billion (S$13.4 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said last June.

China Tower was formed by combining the transmission facility assets of China Mobile, China Unicom Hong Kong and China Telecom Corp in 2015 as part of a broader plan to reform the nation's state-dominated wireless industry. The company is the world's largest owner of telecoms tower infrastructure, according to the prospectus.

China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier, owns a 38 per cent stake in China Tower, followed by China Unicom and China Telecom, each with stakes of about 28 per cent. The remaining 6 per cent is held by China Reform Holdings Corp, a state-owned investment fund. Other than being shareholders, the three carriers pay leasing fees to use China Tower's facilities.

A planned Xiaomi Corp sale and the China Tower IPO may add up to US$20 billion, surpassing last year's total for initial share sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China Tower's profitability improved dramatically last year. It made a profit of 1.9 billion yuan, compared with 76 million yuan in 2016 and a loss of 3.6 billion yuan in 2015.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'China Tower IPO may raise $13.4b'. Print Edition | Subscribe