Reuters – Owners Seek $1.3B for Finnish Mobile Co. DNA

The owners of Finnish mobile phone operator DNA and financial adviser UBS have launched a sale of the company which could be worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), Reuters reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. Swiss bank UBS this week sent out information memorandums to prospective buyers, the people said. The sources declined to be identified because the process is private. One of the people said Swedish buyout firms EQT and Nordic Capital were likely to bid for the number three-ranked operator.

(Reuters) – The owners of Finnish mobile phone operator DNA and financial adviser UBS have launched a sale of the company which could be worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Swiss bank UBS this week sent out information memorandums to prospective buyers, the people said. The sources declined to be identified because the process is private.

One of the people said Swedish buyout firms EQT and Nordic Capital were likely to bid for the number three-ranked operator.

DNA had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 191 million euros in 2012 on revenues of 769 million. In the first quarter of 2013, revenues were flat versus the same period last year while profits rose.

The Finnish mobile services market is the centre of fierce price competition and DNA’s larger rival Elisa in April reported falling revenue and profit and cut its earnings outlook for 2013.

Sweden’s Teliasonera also saw falling revenue and profit in its Finnish business in the quarter.

Elisa is valued at 6.5 times its EBITDA profit in the 12 months to March this year. Applying the same multiple to DNA would give it an enterprise value of 1.3 billion euros.

DNA is controlled by companies that were previously local phone carriers in Finland. The largest shareholder is Finda Group, which owns close to 33 percent.

One of the people said a listing for up to half of DNA shares on the Helsinki stock exchange, allowing owners to sell part of their holdings and take part in any additional upside to the business, was also an option.

DNA and Finda declined to comment. A UBS spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. ($1 = 0.7637 euros) (Reporting by Sven Nordenstam; writing by Niklas Pollard; Editing by David Cowell)