April 24, 2017 / 6:54 AM / 5 months ago

Polish mobile phone group Play says mulls IPO

WARSAW, April 24 (Reuters) - The owners of Poland’s mobile operator P4, which operates under the Play brand name, are considering an initial public offering (IPO) after they called off an auction to sell the business in 2016.

“After 10 years of developing Play into a leading Polish mobile operator, the shareholders and management of Play are reviewing the best options to set the company up for its next stage of growth,” said in a statement on Friday.

“A possible option could take the form of an initial public offering,” it said.

The Play business is owned by Greek fund Tollerton and its Icelandic fund Novator, which had planned to sell the business last year, but called off the auction after private equity offers failed to meet expectations.

Play has 14.4 million subscribers and mainly competes against the Polish mobile network operating arms of Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange.

The Polish bourse has started to attract more investors after years of stagnation and few new entrants.

Last week saw the debut of Polish retail chain Dino, with an initial public offering worth 1.65 billion zlotys, the biggest since 2013.

An IPO of Play could be even bigger, with the company being valuated by local media at around 16 billion zlotys ($4.08 billion).

Play had core earnings 2.03 billion zlotys on 2016 revenue up 12.5 percent to 6.12 billion, according to the daily Puls Biznesu.

Tollerton and Novator have had full control of Play since 2008. Tollerton is controlled by Greek businessman Panos Germanos while Novator is held by Icelandic businessman Thor Bjorgolfsson.

$1 = 3.9219 zlotys Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Jason Neely

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