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AIIM invests ZAR980m in MetroFibre Networx

Anna Lyudvig
Nov. 17, 2020, 5:12 p.m.
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African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) has acquired a minority equity stake in MetroFibre Networx, a South African open access fibre network operator, through the newly incorporated Digital Infrastructure Investment Holdings platform.

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African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) has acquired a minority equity stake in MetroFibre Networx, a South African open access fibre network operator, through the newly incorporated Digital Infrastructure Investment Holdings platform.

AIIM’s ZAR980m investment forms part of a ZAR1.5bn equity funding round to support Metrofibre’s capital expansion plan which exceeds ZAR3bn over the coming three years and will further enhance the company’s empowerment positioning. 

AIIM’s investment, through its IDEAS Managed and AIIF3 Funds, will support MetroFibre’s plans to densify its network in existing areas and expand its offering to an additional 300,000 residential homes across cities and towns nationwide over the next three years.

Existing shareholder STOA, a foreign investment vehicle based in France, is providing incremental funding as part of the transaction together with new investment by the founders of the South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF), Rali Mampeule and Kameel Keshav. 

The transaction sees AIIM, STOA and SAHIF partner with remaining shareholders of MetroFibre, including Sanlam Private Equity and African Rainbow Capital.

MetroFibre, which was launched in 2010, is a high-growth player in South Africa’s Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) and Fibre-To-The-Business (FTTB) markets.

Over the last 10 years, MetroFibre has expanded its service offering to both residential and corporate customers in line with its strategic objective of being a diversified operator. MetroFibre owns and manages its core network which is a globally compliant Carrier Ethernet 2.0 open access network.

Ed Stumpf, AIIM’s Investment Director, said: “This investment provides AIIM with an attractive foothold in the digital infrastructure market in South Africa. Despite material investment in recent years, AIIM continues to see a significant deficit in last-mile fibre connectivity across many parts of the country. Fibre networks underpin the growing demand for high speed, low latency home internet and are crucial to facilitate the accelerating digital migration caused by recent global lockdowns.”

“Through this investment, AIIM has additionally prioritised the strengthening of MetroFibre’s empowerment credentials. Rali Mampeule and Kameel Keshav – CEO and CFO of the South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund – both of whom bring years of experience in the affordable housing sector – have been introduced as strategic empowerment partners through the newly incorporated Digital Infrastructure Consortium Proprietary Limited platform and share our growth agenda and excitement in enhancing connectivity for all South Africans.”

Rali Mampeule, SAHIF CEO, added: “Our key investment focus is to support synergistic opportunities in property sector-related impact development. As a business we recognise the long-term impact that technological advancement can have for households and businesses. Diminishing the barriers to technological advancement adoption for households is key to local development impact in the property sector.”

Steve Booysen, MetroFibre CEO, said: “The successful capital raise will enable MetroFibre to continue with its growth strategy and explore acquisition opportunities, connecting customers with the global economy through a reliable and fast connection. In addition to our organic growth plan, the successful capital raise ensures that MetroFibre is well placed to play a leading role in the sector’s consolidation process, given our strong leadership and operational teams, as well as significant shareholders of reference.”

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