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TPG shares are down sharply as investors react to a senior member’s imminent exit, leaving control of the $10bn telco giant in the hands of Team Vodafone.
TPG shares are down sharply as investors react to a senior member’s imminent exit, leaving control of the $10bn telco giant in the hands of Team Vodafone.

TPG shares hit by key exit

The exit of another veteran TPG executive has created more nervousness among investors, but it also gives chairman Canning Fok and chief executive Inaki Berroeta - former Vodafone men - free rein over the $10bn telco giant created by billionaire David Teoh.

After a 20-year stint with the group, chief financial officer Stephen Banfield will leave the business in November, or until a replacement is appointed.

Mr Banfield was appointed group CFO in August last year following a $15bn merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

 

Former TPG executive chairman David Teoh. Picture: David Geraghty, The Australian.
Former TPG executive chairman David Teoh. Picture: David Geraghty, The Australian.

 

He has been with TPG group companies since 2000, including 12 years as CFO.

Shares in TPG were down more than six per cent at $5.21 at 12.30 AEST.

TPG's share price has now fallen more than 20 per cent since the reclusive Mr Teoh quit suddenly on March 26, triggering a $1bn single-day wipe-out in the value of the business.

Addressing investors at its annual general meeting on Thursday, both Mr Fok and Mr Berroeta focused on strategic priorities as a unified team to roll out 5G and modernise its mobile and fixed networks.

TPG, Telstra and Optus splurged more than $600m on the valuable 26 GHz spectrum earlier this month to boost 5G coverage.

TPG secured holdings in all available licence areas in the 26 GHz band auction for $108.2m.

"We will also look to maximise the use of our own infrastructure, grow share in the enterprise sector and deliver a target of $70 million in cost synergies this year alone," Mr Fok said.

TPG now has more than 5m mobile and 2m fixed-line customers.

"Following the merger, there are more opportunities to deliver on TPG Telecom's potential," Mr Fok, the former chair of Vodafone, said.

 

Telecommunications workers are seen working on a mobile cell tower, at West Ryde. Picture: Dan Himbrechts.
Telecommunications workers are seen working on a mobile cell tower, at West Ryde. Picture: Dan Himbrechts.

 

Mr Berroeta, former CEO of Vodafone, said TPG will begin inviting selected customers to access 5G fixed wireless services next month.

"Take-up of our fixed wireless services has been encouraging as we expand the service across more brands and channels," he said.

"We are on track to reach 85 per cent 5G population coverage in the top six cities of Sydney,

Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra by the end of the year.

The group also 'felix' a new brand as part of its plan to be a 100 per cent renewable electricity operation by 2025.

"Together we are building a new culture at TPG Telecom," Mr Berroeta said.

"It will be a culture with customers at the heart and one which encompasses the best parts of the two businesses."

There is still a seat at the table for the Teoh family to represent its 17 per cent shareholding, with second son Jack Teoh set to join the TPG board.

David quit the board in March, as did his son Shane, who was convicted for an assault.

Mr Teoh, who will receive a termination payout of more than $2.6m from the telco, spent more than three decades building the business, and his fortune, and was a key challenger to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's concerns over the merger through 2019 and 2020.

Originally published as TPG shares hit by key exit



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