Telefonica sells stake in Spanish fibre network, newco created

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Image credit: Telefónica

Telefónica Group has reached an agreement with Crédit Agricole Assurances (CAA) and Vauban Infrastructure Partners (Vauban) to set up Bluevia Fibra (Bluevia), a platform to deploy a fibre network in rural Spain.

The consortium formed by CAA/Vauban will acquire a 45 per cent stake in Bluevia from Telefónica España through an upfront consideration of more than €1m in cash, valuing 100 per cent of Bluevia at €2.5m, which represents an implied multiple of 27.1x over the company’s proforma estimated OIBDA for 2022.

Bluevia will be a neutral wholesale operator, and so manage and deploy a fibre network in low populated rural areas in Spain and low overbuild with third operator’s networks. Bluevia will offer wholesale FTTH access to all service providers. Based on an initial footprint of 3.5 million premises currently passed acquired from Telefónica España, Bluevia aims to increase its network to 5 million premises by 2024, bringing ultrafast broadband access with a greener technology to underserved areas. These 3.5 million premises to be sold to Bluevia represent 13 per cent of Telefónica’s FTTH network in Spain, whilst Telefónica España retains full ownership of the rest of the network.

Bluevia will also benefit from Telefónica España’s operational and commercial capabilities as well as from fibre network deployment with focus on the areas where Telefónica has copper clients as it has committed to switch-off its retail copper network by 2024.

Emilio Gayo, chairman at Telefónica Spain said: ‘We are very excited about this project that will allow Telefonica España to remain the undisputed leader in fibre and will be a key lever to accelerate the deployment in rural areas as we continue to move forward in our commitment to shut down the retail copper network and to promote better connectivity in a more efficient and sustainable way.’

Guillermo Ansaldo, Telefónica Infra CEO, added: ‘With this new venture, Telefónica Infra now has FTTH vehicles in Spain, Germany and Brazil together with Telefónica’s operating units in each of those countries and in partnership with top tier institutions such as Crédit Agricole Assurances/Vauban, Allianz and CDPQ respectively.’

According to Philippe Dumont, CEO of Credit Agricole Assurances:  ‘This stake in Bluevia, the largest Spanish fibre optic network in rural areas connecting more than 5 million households by 2024, also meets the societal commitments of the Crédit Agricole group to promote access to digital technology for as many people as possible in the regions. The Bluevia activity will have a positive impact on local development and the revitalization of rural areas through the provision of a modernised telecommunications network, reducing the digital gap between territories.’

Gwenola Chambon, CEO and founding partner of Vauban Infrastructure Partners concluded: ‘We are very enthusiastic to partner with Telefonica to create a unique FTTH platform, Bluevia, to connect more than 5 million premises in rural regions in Spain by 2024. It is at the core of our strategy of building blue-chip partnership with industrial partners such as Telefonica, while helping create value for local communities and all stakeholders.’

Upon completion of the transaction, Telefónica Group will retain a 55 per cent stake in Bluevia and CAA/Vauban will retain the remaining 45 per cent. The 55 per cent stake owned by Group Telefónica will be held by Telefónica España and Telefónica Infra, with 30 per cent and 25 per cent stakes respectively. 

Image credit: ThomBal/Shutterstock.com

04 March 2022

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