Kosc is beginning to see more clearly about his future. Placed in legal redress at the end of last year, the operator “wholesale only” was the subject of a plan of continuation of activity by the alternative operator Altitude Infrastructure, chaired by David El Fassy. “This is an important moment for us and good news after the tumultuous period that Kosc has experienced in recent months,” its president Yann de Prince said on Tuesday.
The fact remains that this business continuation plan, if it has the preference of a large part of Kosc’s current shareholders (among them OVH or Yann de Prince himself), still has to obtain the approval of the Commercial Court, which will have to arbitrate on the future of the operator on February 19, the deadline for reporting the company’s claims.
It should be remembered that the wholesale operator, whose aim at its launch was to compete with orange’s de facto duopoly in the corporate telecoms market, has also been the subject of several sale offers. But while “almost all the players in the sector have looked at Kosc”, these offers are now “ultra-minority”, it is explained on the side of the wholesale operator, who sees with a very favourable eye the plan of continuation of activity presented by Altitude Infrastructure.
100 million euros injected in five years
It must be said that this one – which foresees a massive investment of 100 million euros over five years in the company chaired by Yann de Prince – would prove to be a winner for both parties. “Of course, we could have tabled a sale offer that could have been more attractive in the short term for us, but this continuation plan will allow us to reschedule Kosc’s debts and presents itself as the best guarantee of success of the whole, the most reassuring for both the clients and Kosc’s creditors” David El Fassy explains. The latter also confirmed that it had already entered into negotiations with one of its largest creditors, SFR, to whom Kosc owes about 25 million euros following a dispute over the finally cancelled acquisition of its Completel network.
But for the president of Altitude Infrastructure, there is no doubt: “With Kosc, we are on the nectar of the addressable.” The continuation plan proposed by Altitude Infrastructure, which would propel the operator to the rank of majority shareholder of Kosc, would allow it to develop its network of addresseable customers in the very dense and medium-density areas, where the bulk of Kosc’s business is located. As a reminder, the wholesale operator claims about ten million eligible catches in these areas.
“Thanks to this continuation plan, the company will continue its activity in its current form, retaining its staff, customers and assets in exactly the same form as before,” notes Yann de Prince, who would remain at the helm of the operator in the event that the Altitude Infrastructure plan wins the favour of the Commercial Court at the end of February.
The latter sees the plan proposed by Altitude Infrastructure as a guarantee for the future. “With the entry of Altitude Infrastructure into The capital of Kosc, we will have enough to develop new projects and further enrich our network with the addition of complementary skills. Kosc has never created or developed its own infrastructure, unlike Altitude Infrastructure,” he explains, indicating that the plan proposed by Altitude Infrastructure would allow it to aim for a return to a positive Ebitda as well as a turnover of between 80 and 100 million euros in 2022.
“Kosc’s 65,000 customers will not be plunged into darkness”
But if the operator has something to look forward to thanks to a financial guarantee of four million euros granted at the end of last year by its traditional shareholders, the timing is likely to be tight. “We are funded until the end of February and I have no doubt that we will be able to continue our activity until the decision of the Commercial Court with the agreement of the judicial administrators,” says Yann de Prince, who is reassuring.
However, if Kosc’s staff claims to have enough to hold on until the Commerce Court’s decision, the ball is in kossle’s court, as David El Fassy sums it up. “The risk that Kosc’s 65,000 corporate clients will be plunged into the dark is ruled out, but if a sale offer is preferred to our business continuation plan, the risk that some of them will suffer the backlash is real because their fate will then depend on the goodwill of the assignee,” warns the latter.
Finally, what about Kosc’s neutrality when Altitude Infrastructures is already present in the retail market via its operator Linkt? “Kosc’s neutrality is part of our DNA, it’s even a matter of life and death for us,” says Yann de Prince, who assures that “there will be no tailor-made price for Linkt. In any case, if Kosc keeps Linkt as its sole customer, it will not be enough to guarantee its survival,” says David El Fassy. It remains to be seen how the plan presented by the latter will be received by the Commercial Court.