In what is said to be one of Europe’s largest ever financing for a company of its kind, CityFibre has secured a debt package with a total value of £4.9 billion to finance fully its ambition to rollout full-fibre gigabit-capable broadband to 8 million UK homes.
The debt package comprises committed facilities of £3.9 billion and an accordion facility of £1 billion. In addition to supporting the primary objective, the new facilities will also go towards rolling out a gigabit infrastructure to a third of the UK market by 2025 as well as enabling up-weighted participation in the UK government’s Project Gigabit programme designed to expand gigabit connectivity to rural as well as urban locations in the UK.
The debt raise has been underwritten by NatWest, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole CIB, BBVA, Intesa Sanpaolo, ING and SEB; with ABN AMRO, Lloyds Bank and the pensions and M&G Investments, the international asset manager, joining as core lenders. In addition, CityFibre says participation in the funding of the UK Infrastructure Bank is recognition of its contribution to critical national infrastructure deployment and the Government’s levelling up programme
The financing follows £1.125 billion in equity investments that CityFibre has closed in the last ten months from two new investors, Mubadala and Interogo Holding as well as from existing investors Antin Infrastructure Partners and the Infrastructure business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
“Over the last decade we’ve built a business that has transformed the UK’s digital connectivity landscape for the better. With our rollout now fully financed, backed by so many esteemed financial institutions, we have emerged as a strong national challenger,”commented Greg Mesch, chief executive officer of CityFibre.
“But CityFibre’s aim is not simply to challenge. It’s to be better. It’s to establish ourselves as the preferred network wherever we build, bringing higher-quality, more affordable infrastructure within reach of millions and unleashing the transformative economic potential of Full Fibre to help level up the UK. We have never been more confident that we will succeed.”
UK Infrastructure Bank CEO John Flint, CEO said: “We are pleased to act as a cornerstone investor in what will be the largest digital debt transaction in the UK market to date, connecting a third of UK households with fast and reliable broadband throughout England and Scotland. It is clear how important good quality connectivity is for the UK economy, and in addressing regional inequalities.”