Sigfox gets German-speaking boost from private equity deal

Sigfox gets German-speaking boost from private equity deal

18 September 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Cover

Luxembourg private equity company Cube Infrastructure has bought Sigfox’s German business and a majority stake in the owner of separate Sigfox businesses in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Both deals are through Heliot Europe, which already runs the internet-of-things (IoT) Sigfox networks in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and will buy the German operation thanks to Cube’s investment.

Henri Piganeau, managing partner at Cube, said: “With this investment in the Heliot platform and strategic alliance with Sigfox, we are now aiming at consolidating a new communication infrastructure, harnessing its potential to enhance the competitiveness of our industries and territories, and contributing to the efficient use of public services and scarce resources.”

The pair of deals – which has not been priced – means Cube and Heliot will operate a single Sigfox operation across four German-speaking countries.

Heliot CEO Thomas Scheibel (pictured) said: “We will pursue commercial development initiated by Sigfox Germany with tier one customers in the country and beyond, in retail, automotive and logistics. … We are looking to further accelerate and foster the adoption of IoT at the heart of European industry.”

Toulouse-based Sigfox licenses the low-power wireless technology to operators in 72 countries.

Sigfox CEO and cofounder Ludovic Le Moan said: “Our goal at Sigfox, with our operators and our ecosystem partners, is to minimise data extraction costs. Sharing infrastructure is a first step toward lower TCO, and higher reliability and interoperability.”

Sigfox will use the proceeds of the sale of its German network “to finance its continued innovation efforts in data value extraction and improvements in cloud algorithms to reduce energy consumption and allow the implementation of even more cost-effective devices and sensors”, said the company.

Piganeau said Cube, which has raised a total of €2.6 billion for its three funds, “are known as pioneers among infrastructure funds for investing early in optic fibre infrastructure companies in Europe, long before fibre became the ‘fourth utility’ and have over the last decade accompanied the growth of several European infrastructure operators”.

He added: “Today, we see the development of massive IoT as a critical enabler and driver of economic, social and environmental progress in the context of the digital transformation of our economies.”

A year ago Sigfox announced it was working with Paris-based Eutelsat to launch 25 nanosatellites to serve IoT applications. Eutelsat it will spend €1 million per satellite, starting with four satellites in 2020-21 and aiming for the total of 25 by 2022. No satellite launches have yet been reported.