July 28, 2020 / 9:32 AM / 18 days ago

Orange Polska looking for minority investor for planned fibre company

WARSAW, July 28 (Reuters) - The Polish arm of French telecoms provider Orange, plans to sell a minority stake in its planned fibre company to fund investment in its fibre-optic network, Orange Polska CEO Jean-François Fallacher told Reuters.

In December France's Orange said it planned to carve out its mobile towers in most European countries.

The company also said that it was working on carving out fibre infrastructure in Poland and Spain.

"At the moment there is clearly a hype for infrastructure," said Fallacher.

"Because of this hype and the interest from investors, we have announced that we would go into a FibreCo ... We have nominated an adviser to help us and we are actively looking for investors, to join us, create a new vehicle, deploying more fibre in Poland," he said.

He said it was too early to say how much the deal could be worth.

"There is a big appetite for this type of assets. We want to keep control," Fallacher said.

This month Bloomberg reported, quoting unnamed sources, that the company could sell half of its fibre-optic network for about 1 billion euros.

Fallacher said the company was also considering carving out its towers.

He said in the most likely scenario new 5G frequencies will be allocated in Q1-Q2 2021, after a previous auction was cancelled to avoid the threat of legal challenges and due to planned changes to Poland's telecoms law to beef up security.

"A possible ban on Huawei equipment in 5G would result in higher costs," Fallacher noted.

"So far, at least since I've been in this country, so almost for five years, I have seen Poland taking very pragmatic and very clever stance, so I guess this government will continue that way," he said.

Reporting by Anna Koper; editing by Jason Neely

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