AAPT Up For Grabs? Telecom NZ Looks For $400m Buyer

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WELLINGTON – Telecom NZ has put its Australian subsidiary AAPT up for sale by auction, according to an Australian Financial Review report – though AAPT has declined to confirm.The Fin is predicting a sale price of between $250 and $405 million – well below the money the Kiwi telco has pumped into AAPT over the years.

Goldman Sachs is understood to be managing the deal, according to the Fin.Assets which would be of appeal to a buyer with that kind of money to outlay include 11,000km of fibreoptic cable linking major cities and commercial hubs; and access to DSL coverage in more than 400 exchanges, mainly in major Australian cities and large metropolitan areas.
It also has its own datacentres in major Australian capitals, fibre access to 1600 premises and mid-band Ethernet in over 250 exchanges.According to Telecom NZ, the Australian offshoot – which it purchased in 2000 when AAPT was still Australia’s No 3 telecoms carrier – is focused on a revenue growth plan within business wholesale markets. 
AAPT’s consumer business was sold to iiNet for $60 million in 2010.In 2007 Telecom acquired Powertel for A$357 and folded it into AAPT, with former Powertel boss Paul Broad becoming AAPT CEO. 
In 2012, AAPT acquired NEC’s Nextstep business.
However AAPT has been in decline in recent years, with EBITDA of A$57 million in FY2013 – 14 percent lower than the $67 million it reported in FY2012.This was attributed to customer churn, rationalisation of low-margin wholesale customers, pricing pressures and market consolidation.
Telecom last tried to flog off AAPT in 2006, but was unable to find a buyer.AAPT spokespeople yesterday declined to confirm or deny the AFR report.
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