Cellnex inks €800m tower deal with OMTEL

Cellnex inks €800m tower deal with OMTEL

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Cellnex Telecom has signed an agreement with Altice Europe and Belmont Infra Holding to acquire all of OMTEL’s towers and sites in Portugal for €800 million.

OMTEL, the country’s main telecommunications infrastructure operator, presently operates 3,000 sites in Portugal, which accounts for 25% of the towers of the Portuguese market. The deal represents Cellnex’s first operation in Portugal and the eighth European country it is present in after France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

“With OMTEL, we are not only integrating one of the leading independent telecommunications infrastructure operators in Portugal. We are also committing to consistent growth in Europe, incorporating an eighth market - which naturally extends the current geographical coverage of the even countries in which we already operate, and in this case especially due to the proximity and operational synergies that may arise with the Group in Spain,” said Tobias Martínez, CEO of Cellnex.

“We are also incorporating a new client, Meo, which is the market leader and joins a rich and diversified mix of clients in Europe, covering the leading operators in the markets in which we operate.”

Once OMTEL is fully integrated and new sites rolled out – growth plans include the roll out of 350 additional sites until 2027 and is expected to cost around €140 million – its Cellnex forecasts that it will generate an additional €90 million EBITDA. The company also announced that its sales backlog is set to grow by €2.5 billion to €38.5 billion.

The acquisition is timely for the European wireless infrastructure operator as it seeks to densify its network ahead of the arrival of 5G and become an attractive operator for mobile providers.

Portfolio Growth in 2019

Cellnex struck several agreements in 2019 to acquire assets and companies, which will mean an increase of some 28,000 assets its current portfolio. H1 2019 saw deals worth €2.7 billion with Iliad in France and Italy to acquire 5,700 and 2,200 sites respectively, and an agreement with Salt in Switzerland over 2,800 sites. Cellnex also agreed to construct 4,000 new sites up to 2027 (2,500 in France and 1,000 in Italy for Iliad, and 500 for Salt in Switzerland) costing €1.35 billion.

In June, Cellnex signed a long-term strategic collaboration deal with BT to acquire the operation and marketing rights of 220 UK telecoms towers. September saw Cellnex acquire telecommunications infrastructure operator Cignal, which operates 546 sites in Ireland, for a total of €210 million. Furthermore, the company expects to roll out another 600 new sites up to 2026, with an additional investment estimated at €60 million.

October saw Cellenx acquire the telecommunications division of the UK’s Arqiva for around £2 billion, which involved the purchasing of 7,400-owned sites and acquiring the marketing rights of some 900 sites. The deal also included concessions for the use of urban fixtures for the deployment in 14 districts of London for telecommunications infrastructure. The finalisation of the operation is planned for the H2 2020.

In December, Cellnex announced the acquisition of 1,500 sites from Orange Spain involving an investment of €260 million. Cellnex will operate these towers and antennas but the deal sees Orange continue to use the assets for an initial period of ten years, extendible for a further ten years and then successive periods of one year.

Since its IPO in 2015, Cellnex has executed or committed investments worth c. €12 billion for the acquisition or construction of c. 48,000 telecommunications infrastructures. The total number of sites in Cellnex’s portfolio is c. 58,000.

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