Ufinet Spain sold to acquisitive private equity group

14 May 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The company that is buying FirstLight Fiber in the US and CityFibre in the UK has added a Spanish wholesale fibre company to its portfolio.

Antin Infrastructure Partners said it is buying Ufinet’s group’s Spanish business from private equity firm Cinven. This transaction is Antin’s fourth announced in the fibre sub-sector and sixth overall in the wider telecom market.

The Latin American part of Ufinet will stay with another Cinven fund.

Mark Crosbie, managing partner at Antin said: “We are delighted to support the management team of Ufinet Spain in the next stage of the company’s development. The company is exceptionally placed to continue its role as a critical part of Spain’s telecom infrastructure and economy going forward.”

The Spanish business has a long-haul access network of 13,508km plus 4,144km of metro networks in 1,141 markets across the country. Ufinet Spain is carrier-neutral and focuses on the wholesale market with primarily blue-chip customers on long-term contracts with high renewal rates.

Cinven bought Ufinet in 2014 for €510 million. Antin did not give a price for the latest acquisition. The sale is expected to close in July 2018, said Antin.

Antin has owned Eurofiber, with network in Belgium and the Netherlands, since 2015.

It has two definitive agreements to acquire other fibre companies as it builds up its portfolio. One is to buy FirstLight Fiber, which provides critical fibre-based telecom infrastructure to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the north-eastern US.

Last month, in partnership with West Street Infrastructure Partners, Antin announced a recommended cash offer for UK company CityFibre. The CityFibre acquisition is to be implemented by means of a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement and is subject to shareholder approval.

Ufinet Spain was originally carved out from Spanish utility Gas Natural Fenosa in 2014 along with the international operations of Ufinet. According to Antin, in 2017 Ufinet’s sales were worth €81 million.

Mauricio Bolaña, a partner at Antin, said: “As an experienced investor in Spain and in the fibre sector, we are particularly attracted by Ufinet Spain’s unique network footprint and its resilient wholesale business model underpinned by long-term contracts with high renewal rates. This solid base is a springboard to capture the strong growth potential that exists across the dark fibre, lit fibre and FTTH markets in Spain.”

Ufinet Spain CEO Juan Francisco Fraga Diaz-Chiron added: “Ufinet Spain’s business has expanded significantly since the carve-out of the company in 2014, both in terms of network size and client base. In partnership with Antin, we look forward to delivering on the impressive potential we see across all of our key markets over the coming years.”