AMP Capital acquires infra tech fibre business VX Fiber
AMP Capital has agreed to acquire a majority stake in VX Fiber, an international infra tech fibre business headquartered in Sweden, on behalf of investors in its infrastructure equity strategy. VX Fiber has existing operations in South Africa and the UK and is targeting an advanced pipeline of opportunities in the UK, Belgium, Austria and Germany.
VX Fiber designs, builds and operates full fibre FTTP (Fibre-To-The-Premise) open access networks globally and has developed its own proprietary software platform which it operates on third parties’ passive fibre infrastructure as fibre operator. The entire network is remotely run through a network operations centre (NOC) in Umea, Sweden.
The business provides an essential service in the fibre value chain, with know-how, contracted position and in time fibre ownership leading to high barriers to entry in a strong growth market. It partners with fibre owners such as local municipalities, real estate owners and utilities to provide an active infrastructure layer to efficiently operate the network and drive fibre adoption.
VX Fiber has developed an approach which benefits all parties: its pioneering partnership approach with the owners of passive infrastructure allows them to monetise their passive infrastructure assets; VX Fiber’s active open access system inviting multiple service providers and enabling subscribers to choose from several independent service providers drives better consumer value; and its provision of ancillary services makes VX Fiber a sophisticated connectivity solutions business.
VX Fiber currently has a significant mature business in South Africa, where the company’s active open access solution has proven very popular with subscribers and service providers, and now involves all significant service providers in the country. In the UK VX Fiber has established relationships with large real estate owners and City Councils. For example, since 2017 the company has partnered with the Grosvenor Estate to transform London’s digital landscape through the creation of a new gigabit-capable fibre broadband network throughout Mayfair and Belgravia. In Stoke-on-Trent, the City Council has partnered with VX Fiber so that Stoke will be one of the first cities in the UK to benefit from the FTTP open access model. The innovative project aims to use and extend the City Council’s existing private optical network ducting to create a 60-mile system that will make full-fibre gigabit broadband connectivity available to the entire community.
Adam Ringer, Principal at AMP Capital said: “This is a highly attractive business with huge scope for growth. VX Fiber’s integrated hardware and software can be quickly deployed on new fibre networks offering genuine open access and high quality to broadband consumers and businesses, promoting choice in the market.
“We have been investing in communications infrastructure for years and identifying the technologies that will deliver on infrastructure needs for the future. VX Fiber complements our existing digital infrastructure investments in North America and Europe. We are delighted to partner with Mikael Sandberg and Christian Widing, a highly credible management team with extensive experience building and operating fibre networks
“VX Fiber’s robust growth pipeline offers us the opportunity to achieve an attractive return and deploy capital incrementally as the business continues expanding its own fibre network, whilst also paving the way to further grow the company’s pan-European fibre operator strategy.”
AMP Capital will own a majority stake in the company alongside its founder management.
Mikael Sandberg, Chairman of VX Fiber said: “AMP Capital is one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated infrastructure investors and we are delighted to have AMP Capital as a partner to accelerate our growth strategy. Together with AMP Capital, VX Fiber is set to become a significant fibre owner and fibre operator in Europe. Full fibre and open access are the two main trends in the telecom industry today. VX Fiber will continue with its successful fibre operator strategy partnering with owners of passive fibre infrastructure and inviting service providers of all types and sizes to sell their services over a rapidly expanding universe of consumer and business subscribers. With the significant investment from AMP Capital, VX Fiber can also continue as fibre owner, deploying full fibre access networks to complement other fibre networks.
“I also want to thank Fort Knox Förvaring AB, a Swedish family office with a dedicated venture capital arm, who, as a main shareholder, has financially supported VX Fiber since the start in 2014 through its rapid international expansion.”
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About AMP Capital
AMP Capital is a global investment manager with £105 billion in assets under management as of 30 June 2020 and more than 250 investment professionals. AMP Capital has a heritage and strength in real estate and infrastructure, and experience in fixed income, equities and multi-asset solutions. AMP Capital is owned by AMP Limited, which was established in 1849, and is one of Australia's largest retail and corporate pension providers.