Swiss Phone Company Sunrise Sets Share Price in $1.5 Billion IPO

Sunrise Communications AG set a price range of 58 francs to 78 francs a share in its initial public offering as Switzerland’s second-biggest wireless operator plans to raise about 1.35 billion francs ($1.5 billion) to cut debt.

The range implies a market value of as much as 3.3 billion francs, the operator said in a statement today. CVC Capital Partners’ stake will be reduced from more than 90 percent to as little as 33 percent, depending on the exercise of an overallotment option, Chief Executive Officer Libor Voncina said on a conference call. Bookbuilding starts today and the shares will trade by Feb. 6 on the Swiss exchange, Sunrise said.

“The primary proceeds from the IPO will allow the company to substantially strengthen its balance sheet and exploit future growth opportunities,” Voncina said.

Competition is heating up in Switzerland where Swisscom AG, the dominant phone company, offers flat rates for mobile subscriptions for 59 francs to 169 francs a month. Billionaire Xavier Niel, known for sparking a cellular price war in France, agreed to buy third-place carrier Orange Switzerland for 2.8 billion francs last month. CVC agreed to pay 3.3 billion francs for Sunrise in 2010.

The offer consist of 17.3 million to 23.3 million shares issued by Sunrise and 4.3 million existing shares offered by CVC, Sunrise said. The investor may offer stock in a so-called greenshoe option, which would increase the size of the IPO by 15 percent, Sunrise said.

Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG are joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the IPO. Morgan Stanley and Berenberg are additional joint bookrunners, and Bank Vontobel AG is co-lead manager. Lilja & Co. is acting as the independent adviser to CVC and Sunrise.