Crown Castle to sell Australian unit for $1.6 billion

Crown Castle to sell Australian unit for $1.6 billion

Crown Castle International has agreed to sell its Australian unit to a group of investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) for approximately $1.6 billion.

The sale of the subsidiary CCAL – 77.6% owned by Crown Castle – is set to bring net proceeds of around $1.3 billion (A$2 billion). On completion of the deal, the cash will be used to finance its acquisition of Sunesys in April 2015 as well as pay down its debt. 

Ben Moreland, CEO of Crown Castle, said the sale of CCAL enables the company to redeploy capital towards its growing small cell networks, which it expects will be accretive to its long-term adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) and dividend per share growth rates. 

The operator of 40,000 mobile towers also manages 14,000 small cell nodes in the US supported by around 7,000 miles of fibre. In addition, it operates about 1,800 towers in Australia.

"We believe we are in the early stages of small cells deployment and are excited by the opportunities that we see ahead of us," said Moreland.

"While CCAL has been a great contributor to our business, our decision to divest this business is opportunistic and allows us to re-allocate capital to growth enhancing initiatives in the US market, which we believe is the most attractive wireless market in the world for wireless investment."

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