Телеком30 мар.

Dutch exits coming up for Deutsche Telekom, Tele2

Sweden's Tele2 says it expects to complete divestment of its 25% stake in T-Mobile Netherlands "in the coming weeks." Deutsche Telekom, which hasn't released a statement as far as Light Reading can make out, holds the remaining 75% stake in the Dutch operator.

Perhaps the Tele2 board of directors was impatient to give the good news. The board proposes that the "full cash proceeds" Tele2 is owed from the sale of its 25% stake should be distributed to shareholders (most of which are institutional investors) through an extraordinary dividend of SEK 13 per share.

There's not long to wait, either. The proposal stipulates that the extraordinary dividend should be paid in connection with the first tranche of the ordinary dividend (provided it gets the cash by then). That's due in May.

Tele2 and Deutsche Telekom announced the sale of their stakes in T-Mobile Netherlands last September for an implied enterprise value of €5.1 billion (US$5.6 billion), which equates to about 8.7 times adjusted EBITDA (after leases) for the 12 months up to June 30, 2021.

The buyers are WP/AP Telecom Holdings, a consortium comprising Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus. René Obermann, co-head of Europe at Warburg Pincus, is a former CEO at Deutsche Telekom.

When the transaction was closed, Deutsche Telekom said it would receive around €3.8 billion ($4.2 billion) in net cash proceeds, which include repayment of the Bonn-headquartered group's shareholder loans to T-Mobile Netherlands.

Bigger fish to fry

Despite T-Mobile Netherlands showing good growth in recent years, ramping up its mobile market share and beginning to make strides in the fixed-line market, it has not been enough to stop Deutsche Telekom from packing its Dutch bags.

Financial pressures from capex demands in Germany, a deal with Softbank to up its stake in T-Mobile US, and the servicing of a €130 billion debt mountain (as of the end of 2021), have all put a strain on purse strings.