African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of Africa’s largest infrastructure-focused private equity fund managers, has confirmed the completion of a follow-on acquisition in MetroFibre Networx (MetroFibre) first announced in June 2021, following approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
AIIM, alongside a consortium comprising South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF) and STOA, a foreign investment vehicle based in France, has acquired an additional 25.8% interest in MetroFibre, previously held by Sanlam Private Equity, African Rainbow Capital and a minority shareholder.
Completion of the transaction follows MetroFibre’s ZAR1.5 billion equity funding round by AIIM, SAHIF and STOA which concluded in December 2020.
The transaction brings AIIM’s total investment in MetroFibre to 37%, making it the largest single shareholder in MetroFibre.
MetroFibre, which was launched in 2010, is a high-growth player in South Africa’s Fibre-To-The-Home and Fibre-To-The-Business 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.
Commenting on the transaction, AIIM investment director Thor Corry, says: “The transaction secures AIIM’s investment vehicle Digital Infrastructure Investment Holdings as the single largest shareholder in MetroFibre at a time when the business is rapidly expanding its fibre footprint. MetroFibre has accelerated roll-out to a point where it is now one of the largest South African Fibre-To-The-Home players by homes passed, but there remains a long way to go to address connectivity shortfalls in the country. The streamlined shareholder register is united in its support for the MetroFibre management team and provides the access to capital necessary to realise their growth ambitions.”
MetroFibre’s CEO, Jan-Jan Bezuidenhout, adds: “Over the past year, MetroFibre has accelerated its fibre rollout with over 350,000 homes passed as at 31 April 2022, and we are aiming to pass an additional 500,000 homes by 2025. We continue to pursue innovative approaches to address South Africa’s connectivity shortfalls and are pioneering unique solutions that cater for customers with different needs. This includes a pay-as-you-go model for underserved areas and packages which suit those who only require intermittent use, removing the need to commit to lengthy contracts. This is particularly important for affordable housing estates and residential areas with high rental occupancy where customers want to avoid being tied into long-term contracts or don’t need an ‘always on’ service. We welcome the changes in the shareholder base and look forward to growing the business with their support.”