Czech billionaire Kellner's PPF considers IPO for telecom unit CETIN

PRAGUE, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Czech billionaire Petr Kellner's PPF group is considering an initial public offering (IPO) for its telecommunications network group CETIN among other options, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The spokeswoman commented after Bloomberg news agency reported PPF had picked banks to explore a potential listing. An IPO could value CETIN at about 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion), the report said.

"We can confirm PPF is considering an IPO as one of the options for CETIN," the PPF spokeswoman said in a statement, adding it was still too early to comment on any process.

IPO considerations did not mean PPF was exiting the telecommunications business, she said.

"We consider (our) investment into CETIN as long-term and strategic," the statement said.

Bloomberg reported PPF was working with BNP Paribas SA, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale SA to study options, including an IPO.

CETIN operates the Czech Republic's largest data and communications network with more than 45,000 km of fibre-optic cables.

It reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 333 million euros in 2019, from 753 million euros in revenue.

CETIN was spun out of PPF's Prague-listed telecoms operator O2 Czech Republic SPTT.PR in 2015.

PPF, nearly 100% owned by Kellner, the country's richest businessman whose net worth is estimated at $19.7 billion by Forbes, has businesses spanning telecoms, finance, engineering and real estate across continents.

It had assets amounting to 44 billion euros as of mid-2020.

This month, PPF launched a share offer for up to 29% of Prague-listed MONETA Money Bank MONET.PR and is seeking to gain a majority through a tie-up with its Air Bank unit.

In 2019, PPF dropped plans for a Hong Kong listing of its global consumer lending business Home Credit after the valuation was below its expectations.

($1 = 0.8226 euros)

(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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