UK independent confirms £4.9bn debt raise for fibre roll-out

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Image credit: CityFibre

UK alternative network provider, CityFibre has confirmed a debt package totalling £4.9bn. 

The company says that these facilities form one of the largest single financings dedicated to full fibre deployment across Europe and fully funds the altnet’s roll-out to a third of the UK market by 2025.

The new banking facilities see CityFibre’s full fibre infrastructure platform now backed by many of the world’s best-known financial institutions. The debt raise is underwritten by NatWest, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole CIB, BBVA, Intesa Sanpaolo, ING and SEB; with ABN AMRO, Lloyds Bank and the pensions and M&G Investments, the international asset manager, joining as core lenders. Also participating as a core lender is the recently established UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB), recognising CityFibre’s contribution to critical national infrastructure deployment and the Government’s levelling up programme.

The financing follows £1.125bn in equity investments that the company has closed in the last 10 months from two new investors, Mubadala and Interogo Holding as well as from existing investors Antin Infrastructure Partners and the Infrastructure business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Combined, these debt and equity funds will fully finance the completion of fibre roll-out to 8m homes, 800k businesses, 400k public sector sites and 250k 5G access points. 

They will also help to establish a large-scale, carrier-neutral full fibre infrastructure platform for the UK, providing ISPs and mobile operators with access to the nation’s most advanced fixed-line network and unleashing more than £38bn in economic benefits to help level up the UK.

The funds will also enable CityFibre to upweight its participation in the government’s Building Digital UK’s (BDUK) Project Gigabit rural programme. By extending its networks to rural areas surrounding the 285 cities, towns and villages identified in its existing rollout, the company aims to support the government’s rural coverage objective, ensuring that millions of rural homes can enjoy the same high-quality digital infrastructure as urban areas. 

Greg Mesch, CEO atCityFibre, said: ‘With our rollout now fully financed, backed by so many esteemed financial institutions, we have emerged as a strong national challenger. But CityFibre’s aim is not simply to challenge. It’s to be better. It’s to establish ourselves as the preferred network wherever we build, bringing higher-quality, more affordable infrastructure within reach of millions and unleashing the transformative economic potential of full fibre to help level up the UK. We have never been more confident that we will succeed.’

John Flint, CEO at the UK Infrastructure Bank, added: ‘We are pleased to act as a cornerstone investor in what will be the largest digital debt transaction in the UK market to date, connecting a third of UK households with fast and reliable broadband throughout England and Scotland. It is clear how important good quality connectivity is for the UK economy, and in addressing regional inequalities.’

Image credit: ThomBal/Shutterstock.com

04 March 2022

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