2degrees names new chairman, to take over if IPO proceeds

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 31 Jul 2021, 1:35PM
Mark Cairns in June as his 16-year stint as Port of Tauranga came to an end. (Photo / George Novak)
Mark Cairns in June as his 16-year stint as Port of Tauranga came to an end. (Photo / George Novak)

2degrees names new chairman, to take over if IPO proceeds

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sat, 31 Jul 2021, 1:35PM

2degrees says professional director Mark Cairns will take over as its new chairman if its IPO proceeds.

The mooted chairman is notable on two fronts.

One, he's local.

Cairns would take over from the incumbent - American Brad Horowitz who, like most of his predecessors, is drawn from the ranks of the telco's majority owner, the Seattle-based, Toronto-listed Trilogy International Partners.

Two, he's from outside the industry.

Cairns is best known for his longtime stint as CEO of the Port of Tauranga - a strong NZX performer during most of his tenure. He took the top job at the port in 2005 and stepped down in June this year.

He is currently an independent director on the boards of Meridian, Sanford and Freightways.

2degrees chief executive Mark Aue says Cairns has extensive experience in logistics, infrastructure, and contracting, and significant exposure to capital markets.

Trilogy is looking to float 2degrees by the end of this year. It has yet to narrow down if it will be an ASX, NZX or dual listing.

The process depends in part on how the US company goes offloading its second asset, under-performing Bolivian telco Viva, which it has put on the block for a trade sale.

Meanwhile, documents leaked from a recently wrapped up non-deal roadshow for 2degrees' possible IPO indicate fund managers were told the Kiwi telco would be valued at around A$1.5b ($1.6b).

The roadshow - which took the virtual form of 32 Zoom calls - was part of an effort by Jarden, Macquarie and Craigs.

While 2degrees recently reported its fifth year of operating profit, the Central American Viva has struggled badly amid a chaotic, pandemic-hit economy and Trilogy carries a US$630m debt load. The upshot is that Trilogy has a market cap of just C$112m ($128m).

The possible 2degrees listing comes at the same time as Vocus Group's new owner Voyage Australia is looking at an IPO for Vocus' NZ assets, which include Orcon, Slingshot and a nationwide fibre network.

Forsyth Barr, Goldman Sachs and UBS are managing the possible float - which again, may or may not involve the local exchange. Analysts expect the listing to be at a valuation of around $720m if it does go ahead (see more on Vocus' financials here).