Source: Bloomberg

Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. is seeking prospective buyers for its wireless phone towers that provide coverage to about 98% of the country’s population, according to a pitch sent to potential investors.

The Auckland-based telecommunications business is disposing of about 1,487 mobile cell sites that are expected to generate Ebitda of more than NZ$50 million ($34 million) in the financial year starting April 1, the presentation seen by Bloomberg News showed.

The assets, viewed as New Zealand’s largest tower portfolio, could be valued at as much as NZ$1.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said separately, asking not to be identified as the process is private. 

A representative for Vodafone New Zealand declined to comment. 

A transaction, if successful, would follow a spate of towers auctions in neighboring Australia last year that capitalized on demand for such holdings. Pension funds and asset managers flush with cash find digital infrastructure appealing because of growth and assured long-term returns they offer.

Australia’s two largest telecommunications providers, Telstra Corp. and the local unit of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., sold all or part of their phone tower assets last year, garnering $2.1 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. Last month, Spark New Zealand Ltd. announced plans to separate its cell sites into a new subsidiary and explore the introduction of outside capital. 

Vodafone New Zealand is owned by Wellington-based Infratil Ltd. and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which purchased the local unit of Vodafone Group Plc in 2019 for NZ$3.4 billion but left the name unchanged. The towers on sale have an average lease term of about 13 years, while 290 more sites will be added by the year ending March 2027, the presentation showed.

Infratil said in November that it was weighing “network capital release options” for the business. Vodafone New Zealand is working with Barrenjoey Capital Partners and UBS Group AG on the process, according to the pitch. The two banks didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.