Spark New Zealand has hired local investment bankers Jarden and Forsyth Barr to sell its 1,263 mobile towers, which are being carved out into a separate company.

The infrastructure unit is expected to generate annual earnings of about $35 million, less than rival Vodafone NZ’s $51m from 1,500 mobile towers that may reap $1 billion in a similar carve-out and sale.

Spark said it plans to keep stake in the TowerCo and will be a “key, long-term, anchor tenant and strategic partner” in the subsidiary.

“Spark TowerCo will have a sole focus on passive mobile assets so will be able to achieve greater focus, service innovation, and efficiency, reducing costs and increasing speed to market for these build programmes,” Spark NZ finance director Stefan Knight said.

Investment banks Forsyth Barr and Jarden have been hired to find buyers, but there was “no certainty” that a transaction will proceed, the telco wrote in their announcement.

Vodafone hired UBS and Barrenjoey to run the sale of its tower company, sending out promotional material last week to potential suitors, and have reportedly drummed up interest from the NZ Super Fund in tandem with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.