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Actis wins Environmental Finance’s ESG investment initiative of the year, EMEA for Octotel

28 June 2024
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Actis’ investment in Octotel has won the ESG investment initiative of the year, EMEA award at the Environmental Finance Sustainable Investment Awards 2024.

Actis acquired a controlling shareholding in South African fibre network operator Octotel in October 2020. The investment aimed to ramp up the number of homes passed with a fibre line, driving the network’s take-up rate. At the point of exiting the investment, the number of homes passed with fibre had risen from 195,000 at investment to 350,000.

The firm focused its value creation strategy on the fibre-to-the-home business’ financial growth, as well as through a series of ESG improvements. Most notably, Octotel’s fleet of vehicles was converted to LPG hybrid vehicles, supporting decarbonisation, and the business partnered with an electric waste company, which resulted in 7,000kg of waste recycled in 2023.

From a social perspective, Octotel secured what is believed to be one of the first social loans in South Africa, a ZAR2 billion ‘social loan’ facility by Rand Merchant Bank to drive digital inclusion. The business also now provides free 1GB internet connection to more than 150 Western Cape-based schools.

James Magor, Director, Sustainability at Actis, commented: "Actis' investment in fibre network operator Octotel is an excellent illustration of how the firm creates sustainability leaders, having driven its social and environmental impact while growing the business, enhancing its financial value in the process. In carrying out such initiatives, Actis has built Octotel into a sustainability leader in the fibre network operator sector in South Africa, and it is fantastic that this has been recognised through this award."

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