Europe news

A roundup of tower news across Europe

CIS: VEON pulls tower sales in CIS 

Following the cancellation of their Russian process in May, TowerXchange believes that VEON has also abandoned the sale of their passive assets in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. It is as yet unknown whether the operator has other plans for the infrastructure in these countries.

Finland: Broadcast towerco for sale

Broadcast towerco Digita, operates 556 towers in Finland and was acquired from France’s TDF Group by First State Investments in 2012. Digita is believed to be among several European broadcast assets looking for a buyer in 2017. Read TowerXchange’s interview with Digita CEO, Juha-Pekka Weckström

France: Towercast sale could prove influential in the French market 

French media group NRJ has announced its intention to sell broadcast towerco Towercast, a competitor to TDF, which offers DTT and FM broadcast services via 500 sites across France. Declaring that Towercast isn’t a ‘fit’ with NRJ’s core business, it’s believed NRJ hopes to raise up to €300mn from the sale. Likely to attract a buyer with broadcast experience, both TDF and Cellnex may well be interested in these assets, which would allow them to consolidate in a very competitive market.

Netherlands: Cellnex has acquired Dutch broadcast towerco Alticom for €133mn

With just 30 high-rise sites across the country, the valuation for this portfolio has raised eyebrows, but Cellnex claim the long range assets (with good fibre connectivity) will prove critical in delivering low latency 5G networks, as well as consolidating their position in the Dutch market. Alticom’s customers include all the telecommunication and broadcast operators in the Netherlands, with whom it has contracts ranging from 5 to 10 years. The deal increases Cellnex’s tower count in The Netherlands to 788 and globally to 24,664.

Portugal & France: Altice preparing to sell towers

Altice, owner of French MNO SFR and Portugal Telecom, has signalled its intention to pay down debt through the sale of assets, including telecoms towers. With Portugal high on Cellnex’s target list and Cellnex, TDF and ATC Europe all vying for market share in France, there will undoubtedly be significant interest in these assets.

Spain, Germany & Americas: KKR secures full 40% of Telxius

Telefonica has announced that private equity firm KKR has increased its 24.8% stake in tower and cable infraco Telxius by 15.2%, exercising the previously agreed call option over 38 million shares of the subsidiary. The sale is expected to close by the end of this year, meaning KKR will hold 40% of Telxius, with Telefonica retaining control. The deal will have no impact on consolidated results as it consists of the sale of a minority interest.

Spain: Cellnex posts strong Q317 results 

Cellnex closed Q317 with revenues up 11% and EBITDA up 25%. The number of sites Cellnex operates grew by 29% yoy following a busy year of acquisitions for the European towerco. They showed strong growth with customer ratio per site increasing 4% like-for-like and the rollout of new DAS nodes growing 15% compared to the first three quarters of 2016. Organic growth is due to remain relatively stable with 45% of their 2,000 site decommissioning plan underway and contracted and 91% of their 2,200 new build target already committed. Cellnex have renewed their commitment to growth through acquisition, highlighting Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Austria as ‘Tier One’ targets for expansion.

UK: Arqiva cancels IPO 

UK infrastructure giant Arqiva, owned by a consortium including the Australian investment bank Macquarie and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, has most recently cancelled their decision to IPO, following the announcement on 23rd October that they planned a flotation on the London Stock Exchange. See TowerXchange analysis for more information.

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