Vodafone NZ and CDC star as Infratil reports a strong first half

Vodafone NZ and CDC star as Infratil reports a strong first half

Vodafone NZ returns almost as much cash as Infratil invested just over three years ago.

Jason Boyes (Infratil)

Jason Boyes (Infratil)

Credit: Supplied

NZX-listed investment company Infratil announced significant growth in earnings from key investments, including CDC Data Centres and Vodafone NZ.

Infratil CEO Jason Boyes told shareholders that following completion of Vodafone's tower sale, Infratil would have received almost $1 billion in cash distributions over the three years since it spent $1.03 billion to buy just shy of half of the telco. 

The investment company recorded a net parent surplus from continuing operations of $350.5 million for the six months to 30 September, driven also by a gain recognised on the sale of Trustpower's retail business, including its telco customer base, to Mercury.

Boyes said the Vodafone passive mobile tower sale and investment into a new "TowerCo" was among standout transactions, alongside significant progress made across Infratil's portfolio.

“Vodafone is well positioned for the next stage of growth, with an increase in top line revenue driven by strong post-paid trading performance and border openings, the upgrade and onshoring of major IT systems away from the Vodafone Group, as well as the sale of its passive tower assets for $1.7 billion," Boyes said.

Vodafone NZ, soon to be rebranded as One NZ, went live on a new SAP cloud platform in June.

Operating revenues across Infratil's portfolio increased by over $300 million compared with the same period in 2021, Boyes said. 

"This reflects passenger recovery at Wellington Airport, a full period of trading from RHCNZ Group, our New Zealand diagnostic imaging businesses and increased earnings from CDC Data Centres," he said.

CDC had a strong six months, he added, having delivered an additional 104MW of capacity across its Canberra, Sydney and Auckland campuses. 

"The new Silverdale and Hobsonville data centres are the largest and most secure centres of their type in New Zealand," Boyes said.

CDC Data Centres forecast capex of A$650 million in the current financial year. Construction has commenced at its first Melbourne campus with a target delivery of the first 30MW of operating capacity early in the 2024 financial year. 

An additional 12MW of capacity is under development across CDC’s operational Auckland sites.

Infratil's proportionate EBITDAF for the half year was $275.6 million, up 11 per cent on the $248.4 million reported in the same period last year and reflecting strong performances from CDC, Vodafone and Wellington Airport. 

Proportionate EBITDAF for the year to 31 March 2023 is forecast to be between $510 million and $540 million.

Boyes said Infratil retained significant available liquidity to pursue both internal and external investment opportunities. The company had available capacity of over $1.4 billion to fund growth, including significant undrawn corporate facilities, and over $400 million of cash on hand. 

At 30 September, gearing was 13.9 per cent, significantly below the target range of 30 per cent.

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