Send £200m, says Digital 9, as it buys Irish network for €76m

Send £200m, says Digital 9, as it buys Irish network for €76m

Irish mountain rescue.jpg

Digital 9 Infrastructure, which owns data centres and subsea cables, has bought a controlling stake in Ireland’s public safety communications network.

At the same time Digital 9 has announced plans to raise a further £200 million to fund that acquisition and this week’s new investment in Icelandic data centre company Verne Global.

Digital 9 will take an initial 56% stake in Tetra Ireland Communications, which runs public-safety networks for police and other emergency services, for €76 million, but has the option to increase its holding to 100% for a further €60 million.

It is buying the stake from Eircom, the official company name of Eir, the incumbent Irish telecoms operator that is owned by French businessman Xavier Niel, who owns Iliad and other European businesses.

Thor Johnsen, head of digital infrastructure at Triple Point, which is Digital 9’s investment manager, said: “The acquisition is highly attractive and complementary to the growing D9 portfolio of digital infrastructure assets, providing additional long-term contracted, inflation-linked cash returns to investors.”

Tetra Ireland’s public-service customers include Mountain Rescue Ireland (pictured), fire and ambulance services, the Coast Guard and An Garda Síochána – the police service.

Johnsen commented: “Tetra Ireland is an essential part of the Irish national wireless infrastructure today and looking to the future, and we look forward to working with the Tetra Ireland management team and key stakeholders.”

Digital 9 said this morning that, as a result of this transaction, it “has now deployed or committed substantially all of its available capital”. It has raised £750 million in equity so far, following a share flotation in 2021, and now seeks to raise more money.

It will do this, said the company this morning, by placing new ordinary shares at £1.08 a share. That is a discount of 1.5% on yesterday’s closing price.

However, Digital 9’s share price has been heading downwards in the first few days of 2022, from a peak of £1.142 on the first trading day of the year to £1.086 this morning. Its highest was £1.188 in early August 2021. Market cap is currently £781.19 million.

Digital 9 said it needs the extra £200 million is it “has identified an immediate term pipeline of approximately £325 million, part of a near term pipeline of approximately £500 million, with a total pipeline of approximately £1.8 billion”.

Investments include Aqua Comms, Verne Global plus SeaEdge UK1, a data centre asset and subsea fibre landing station, as well as the planned Tetra Ireland acquisition. Sources in the industry point to possible investment in Ontix, a UK small-cell company.

Digital 9’s investment manage, Triple Point, says it is also arranging a new syndicated revolving credit facility of up to £300 million. This will be available in February, the company said this morning.


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