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Press release

Actis agrees sale of fibre operator Octotel

25 March 2024
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  • Actis to sell Octotel to a consortium led by African Infrastructure Investment Managers and also comprising STOA and Thebe Investment Corporation
  • Sale follows significant expansion of the fibre network operator since Actis investment in December 2020

LONDON, 25 March 2024: Actis, a global investor in sustainable infrastructure, has signed an agreement to sell leading South African fibre network operator Octotel to a consortium of investors, led by African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) and also comprising STOA and Thebe Investment Corporation.

Actis invested in Octotel, a leading fibre network operator in the Western Cape of South Africa, in 2020 to capitalise on the growing demand for high-speed connectivity and the rapid rise in data consumption in the country. The firm’s investment strategy focused on expanding the number of homes passed with a fibre line and driving the take-up rate on the network.

This resulted in significant growth for the platform, with the number of homes passed with fibre rising from 195,000 at investment to 350,000 today, and the number of customers connected increasing from 56,000 to 110,000 over the same time period.

Under the ownership of Actis, Octotel also achieved significant sustainability milestones to drive positive environmental as well as social impact. These include providing free 1GB internet connections to more than 150 schools in the Western Cape, converting its fleet of vehicles to LPG hybrid vehicles to decarbonise transportation, and securing one of the first social loans in South Africa in recognition of the company’s work to promote digital inclusion.

David Cooke
David Cooke, Partner at Actis, commented: “The sale of Octotel adds to the strong track record Actis has in digital infrastructure. Digital represents an important sector for Actis and we’ve got an exciting investment pipeline for the sector, notably in the data centre, telecom tower and fibre network segments. We’re unlocking these opportunities globally and currently have US$1.5 billion committed to the sector worldwide. This exit of Octotel comes shortly after our recent signing of an agreement to acquire Swiftnet, a leading telecom towers business in South Africa. We expect to see considerable growth in South Africa’s digital infrastructure, driven by strong secular tailwinds like rising data consumption and internet penetration."

Thor Corry, Investment Director at AIIM, said: “We are thrilled to acquire Octotel and look forward to empowering their world-class management team to continue to drive connectivity in the Western Cape and contribute to the ongoing digital transformation in South Africa. The acquisition represents a landmark transaction for the IDEAS Fund and adds to the portfolio’s complement of high-quality growth infrastructure assets.”

Marie-Laure Mazaud, CEO of STOA, said:We are glad to be part of this journey alongside our partners AIIM and Thebe with whom we share a common goal for the development of the South African telecommunications sector, and we are looking forward to supporting the management to take advantage of new opportunities to ensure a fruitful growth. This transaction reinforces STOA’s long-term commitment to the deployment of affordable, reliable and fast connectivity in Africa.”

Rapulane Mabelane, Chief Investment Officer at Thebe Investment Corporation, added: “The core of Thebe’s investment strategy is to Build Communities by partnering with the right teams and investing in highly successful world class businesses that are involved in sectors that drive economic growth and transformation. One of the objectives of the National Development Plan is to bridge the digital divide. Through this transaction, we aim to play our part in expanding the high speed fibre network into greater parts of the Western Cape.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

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