Telecoms group Altice explores sale of Belgium unit

Altice, the pan-European and US telecoms group, is exploring a sale of its Belgian business in what would be a rare disposal by the otherwise highly-acquisitive group.

Altice, which last month completed a $17.7bn purchase of US operator Cablevision, is working with Lazard on a potential sale of SFR Belgium that may value the unit at as much as much as €500m, people informed about the process said. Altice and Lazard declined to comment, write Arash Massoudi in London and Adam Thomson in Paris.

Best known for blockbuster acquisitions over the last two-years including deals for Portugal Telecom, SuddenLink in the US and France’s SFR, the sale of Belgium unit indicates that Altice is narrowing its focus on its larger operations.

The sale comes after Altice lost out to Liberty Global in the €1.3bn bidding war last year for Base, Belgium’s third biggest mobile operator.

Altice acquired Coditel Brabant in 2003 for €82m and rebranded the unit SFR Belgium in recent months. The unit makes €51m in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amoritisation on revenues of €75m, according to Altice’s website. It has 110,000 customers.

Shares in Altice have suffered a sharp 55 per cent drop over the past year as investors questioned the company’s strategy of borrowing huge sums to strike deals in the US and Europe and then rapidly administering cost cuts at its new units. There have also been concerns over Altice’s ability to increase revenues in its various operations.

The author: Margareta STROOT

Margareta Stroot, a multi-talented individual, calls Brussels her home. With a unique blend of careers, she balances her time as a part-time journalist and a part-time real estate agent. Margareta's deep-rooted knowledge of the city of Brussels, where she resides, has proven invaluable in both of her roles. Her journalism captures the essence of the city, while her real estate expertise helps others find their perfect homes in the vibrant Belgian capital.

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