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Route Mobile plans to be listed on Nasdaq

Proximus Opal, the company that acquired a controlling stake in India-based listed communications platform-as-a-service (C-PaaS) company Route Mobile, will look to list on Nasdaq over the next 24-36 months, Rajdip Gupta, chief executive officer (CEO) of Route Mobile, said in an interview.

“The idea is to grow the C-Paas business and make it an eligible candidate to list globally, preferably on Nasdaq,” Gupta said. However, Proximus Opal is yet to firm up its listing plans, and for now is focusing on synergies and growing in double digits, according to him.

Gupta, who along with his family, sold almost a 60% stake in the company to get $730 million from the deal that was announced last year, has ploughed back $350 million to own 15% of the joint entity, he said. After the closure of the transaction in May this year, Gupta now runs the joint business that also includes global businesses such as Telesign and BICS.

Belgium-based Proximus Group, which has acquired a majority stake in Route Mobile, intends to double the group’s revenues to $3 billion in 3-4 years, on the back of synergies from the new acquisition, Mint reported in May 2024. Within that, Route Mobile alone is expected to generate $1 billion in revenues, the report said.

Route, which listed on Indian exchanges in 2020, is likely to close FY25 at ₹5,000 crore in revenues. “The ambition we have is to scale Route Mobile’s R&D (research and development) capabilities not only to serve the C-PaaS platform, but also to help us accelerate the development of Telesign and more traditional Proximus telco activities that we may have in Europe. Significant investments will be needed, in operations, IT (information technology) and R&D, to achieve that scale,” Proximus CEO Guillaume Boutin had told Mint in May.

Proximus, a telecom service provider, will also double down on investments in India and raise its headcount in the country by a few hundreds, which will also serve as its research and development hub for developing generative artificial intelligence (GenAI)-based products.

According to Gupta, the company is scouting for inorganic opportunities in GenAI and blockchain, among other areas. “We have set aside capital for such opportunities.”

The €6 billion Proximus Group provides 5G, data and fibre services in Belgium and several other European markets under brands including Proximus, Scarlet and Mobile Vikings.

On 8 May, the Proximus Group completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Mumbai-based Route Mobile, nearly a year after the former agreed to buy a 57.56% stake in the latter for ₹5,924.4 crore, through its subsidiary Proximus Opal. The deal is one of the largest in the communications services space in recent years. The agreement to buy the initial stake triggered a mandatory open offer to purchase up to 26% more of the company’s outstanding shares. Proximus Opal bought another 24.99% stake through the open offer for ₹2,593.4 crore. It now holds 82.7% in Route Mobile and has about 12 months, as per Securities and Exchange Board of India guidelines, to cut its stake to 75% to ensure the public holding in the company is at least 25%. Livemint

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