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Pension fund invests in rural fibre provider Gigaclear

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Gigaclear has secured an additional £111 million (€131 million) in equity funding to build new fibre networks in rural Britain. This will enable a significant acceleration in the build rate of these ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks, reaching and connecting hundreds of thousands of people.

Existing shareholders Infracapital and Woodford Investment Management have committed to invest an additional £60 million and £15 million, respectively, with other shareholders contributing a further £1 million. The new investor is RPMI Railpen, the investment manager for the Railways Pension Scheme, which will put £35 million to work in the company.

In recent months, Gigaclear has won tenders to deliver its broadband network to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the UK counties of Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme (see for example Gigaclear to roll out FTTP in rural Northamptonshire). It was the first operator other than the incumbent to be awarded projects under the government-backed scheme (see Gigaclear celebrates trio of wins under BDUK broadband scheme).

The new investment will fund these new network builds as well as other commercial projects.

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive, Gigaclear, said: ‘Full fibre is the future. This latest round of investment will enable Gigaclear to step up our speed of network delivery and is a clear signal of the confidence investors have in our continued expansion and success.’

Paul Bishop, Investment Director, Railpen, said: ‘As a long-term investor, we see the partnership with Gigaclear as a natural fit that will allow us to generate strong returns over time and fulfil our mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably. We are also delighted that the company will be supporting local communities by bringing the benefits of best-in-class fibre-optic broadband to homes and businesses in new parts of the country.’

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