iiNet sells subsidiary for $36m

In a move to reduce its $62.6m debt, iiNet has sold its New Zealand subsidiary, ihug, to Vodafone NZ

Australian internet service provider iiNet yesterday announced the sale of its New Zealand subsidiary, ihug, to telecommunications giant Vodafone New Zealand for NZ$41 million (AU$36 million).

The sale comes after iiNet's July announcement of its intention to sell the New Zealand business due to changes in the New Zealand regulatory environment in May, and then unsolicited offers to purchase the business.

Sale proceeds would allow the company to focus on Australian operations and reduce its debt, said iiNet MD Michael Malone.

New Zealand startup ihug was purchased by iiNet in September 2003 for a total consideration of $30.1 million in cash and $41.5 million in shares. The acquisition would to improve iiNet's earnings per share and enhance ihug's Australian operations, said iiNet Chairman, Peter Harley, in an ihug press release at the time of purchase.

iiNet, which reported a net profit after tax of $5.2 million in September 2003, has now reported debts of $62.6 million in its latest ASX report.

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