Cable & Wireless to split at end of March

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Cable & Wireless to split at end of March

Alex Scroxton
Cable & Wireless today named 26 March as the date for its demerger, pending a shareholder vote this month.

The demerger was officially announced in November 2009 but is in factthe culmination of a four year process that began in April 2006, whenthe firm first created two distinct operating units, one focusing on the UK market and the other focusing on its Caribbean and Far Eastern business.

It will result in two separate public listings, one for its UK division, the confusingly-named Cable & Wireless Worldwide and another for its international business, Cable & Wireless Communications, which operates predominantly in the Caribbean, Macau, Monaco and Panama.

The firm claimed the board believes that the velvet divorce will "deliver further value for shareholders by allowing [both firms] to pursue their strategies independently with grater flexibility over management of resources and opportunities."

Financing for Worldwide is now understood to be complete, with a £230m convertible bond and £300m of credit facilities in place, while Communications has signed off on $500m (£314m) of medium term facilities and a $500m bond announced today.

Cable & Wireless also confirmed that its current chairman, Sir Richard Lapthorne, will remain in place at Communications, with the CEO named as Tony Rice. Worldwide will come under the control of John Pluthero and Jim March as chairman and CEO respectively.

Thanking both employees and partners for their support, Lapthorne said: "Cable & Wireless has a successful history as a provider of telecommunications services around the world. We are now embarking on a new chapter in that story and I am confident that both Worldwide and Communications are in great hands and will continue that distinguished heritage."

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