Smart to float on AIM today, raises €10m

10 Sep 2004

Smart Telecom will this morning float on London’s Alternative Investments Market (AIM) after delisting from the OFEX market last night.

On the back of placing ordinary shares with institutional and other investors the company revealed that it has already raised more than €10m.

Describing the significant impact floating on AIM will have on Smart, the company’s CEO Oísin Fanning says: “Floating on AIM will place Smart Telecom in a perfect position to grow substantially in the coming months.

“We have also raised the full amount sought during our latest round of funding and this means we can now proceed with our strategy to unbundle the local Eircom exchange in Ireland.

“We will shortly be able to offer an integrated voice, data and broadband service to customers all over the country and achieve our ultimate aim of turning Ireland into a broadband nation,” Fanning adds.

From the debris of Fanning’s failed stock broking business MMI in 1999, Smart Telecom was formed when Fanning raised €2.5m in private equity funding, which he used to buy the prepaid call cards business of Switchcom for €600k. Fanning went on to acquire the phonebox business of Alphyra for €2.4m as well as a further 600 payphones from Esat BT, which divested itself of this business for a sum of €1.2m. Smart Telecom now has 35,000 customers and reported annual revenues of over €16m. The company has grown from a staff of 20 people to 180 people. A further 100 jobs are to be created in Cork following the lighting of the metropolitan area network (MAN) there.

Smart has also signed a contract with ESB Telecom to connect the Cork MAN with its own 120km fibre-optic network around Dublin, using ESB’s €50m 1,300km network that connects with 11 of the 19 proposed MANs. Smart’s own Dublin network connects into the 2km fibre-optic ring around the Digital Hub district as well as the T50 broadband network that straddles the west side of Dublin and Bord Gáis’ Aurora fibre-optic network.

The company has connected this network with all the 18 different data centres in Dublin, which then connects to the pan-European Epsilon fibre network that connects with a further 32 data centres across Europe as part of a Smart/Epsilon business pact. A similar alliance has been forged with US-based Beyond The Network, owned by Hong Kong Telecom, which will connect Smart with all the major US centres of business.

In June, Smart Telecom signed a significant technology deal with IT services giant IBM and voice-over IP switching systems player Cirpack to deploy its next-generation nationwide network across Ireland to enable single billing and future broadband services.

By John Kennedy