Monday, 22 March 2021 16:56

Telstra outlines process for splitting into three units by end-2021 Featured

John Mullen says Telstra will provide detailed information to shareholders about the change process by early September. John Mullen says Telstra will provide detailed information to shareholders about the change process by early September. Courtesy YouTube

Australia's biggest telco Telstra has set out a process it will undertake this year to enable a restructure that it outlined in November last year.

In an update to the ASX on Monday, Telstra said it intended to complete the legal restructure by the end of December.

In November, Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn said in a statement that three entities would be created.

"InfraCo Fixed will own and operate our passive physical infrastructure assets: the ducts, fibre, data centres, subsea cables and exchanges that underpin our fixed telecommunications network," Penn said at the time

"InfraCo Towers will own and operate our passive physical mobile tower assets, which we will look to monetise over time given the strong demand and compelling valuations for this type of high-quality infrastructure.

"Finally, ServeCo will focus on how we create and innovate products and services for our customers and deliver the best possible customer experience, including maintaining our significant network leadership. ServeCo will also own the active parts of our network – things like software defined networking that allows us to operate in a dynamic way."

On Monday, Telstra said it also would establish its international business under a separate subsidiary within the Telstra Group, to keep that part, including its sub-sea cables, together as a single entity.

The process to enable the restructure would involve:

  • the establishment of a new holding company for the Telstra Group;
  • the creation of separate subsidiaries including InfraCo Fixed (which will be the existing Telstra Corporation), InfraCo Towers, ServeCo and Telstra International, and transferring the relevant assets into InfraCo Towers and ServeCo; and
  • it is proposed that the establishment of the new holding company and the transfer of the relevant assets into ServeCo be undertaken by way of schemes of arrangement, and Telstra intends to seek shareholder approval of these schemes at this year’s AGM in October.

Telstra chairman John Mullen said extracting more value from the company's existing infrastructure was a backbone of its T22 strategy; the strategy was announced back in 2018.

"Even before the COVID pandemic reminded us of the enormous importance of telecommunications infrastructure globally, we could see the opportunity to provide transparency of our assets and opportunities to deliver additional value for shareholders," he said.

"The legal restructure is a step toward that outcome. It also reflects the new post-COVID world we are living in and the fact that our assets are a critical part of the infrastructure that is enabling the nation's rapidly growing digital economy."

Mullen added that Telstra would provide detailed information to shareholders, along with a recommendation from an independent expert, in a booklet which was scheduled for release early in September.

Penn said: "We started setting up InfraCo almost three years ago and what has happened since has only reinforced the importance of the strategic decisions we made at the time.

"The end of the impact of the NBN rollout on our financials is within sight, and the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance and value of telecommunications infrastructure to the world."

He said the proposed monetisation of InfraCo Towers was on track.

"As previously communicated, we plan to commence the process for external strategic investment into InfraCo Towers early in FY22, with binding offers to be submitted in the second quarter of FY22."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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