Actis acquires Fibre business in South Africa for US$140m12/10/20

Actis announced today that it has entered into agreements to acquire a controlling interest in Octotel, a fibre-to-the-home operator in South Africa for an enterprise value of ZAR2.3bn (cUS$140 million). At the same time Actis signed agreements to acquire a non-controlling interest in RSAWEB, a leading Internet Service Provider in South Africa. The transactions are subject to regulatory approval.

Octotel is a leading fibre network operator in the Western Cape region of South Africa. Founded in 2016, its open access fibre network has passed more than 175,000 premises. Through this network, Octotel provides line rental services to Internet Service Providers on a fully vendor neutral basis allowing high speed data connectivity in homes and businesses across the region.

The businesses, both founded by Rob Gilmour and Mark Slingsby who will remain as shareholders, will continue to be run by the existing management teams. Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers Limited and the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund will fully exit their respective positions in the two entities.

Last month Actis announced a 75% stake in a new joint venture with GS E&C, the construction arm of GS Group, to build and operate a 21MW internet data centre in Greater Seoul with a development cost of US$315 million. The firm has created a Chinese data centre platform, Chayora Holdings, to develop hyperscale data centre facilities to serve China’s tier 1 markets. In early 2020, Actis also established a US$250m pan-African data centre platform, starting with an investment in Rack Centre in Lagos, Nigeria.

Commenting on the transaction, David Cooke Actis partner based in Johannesburg, said “Octotel and RSAWEB are the latest Actis investments into the high growth Digital Infrastructure sector. We have a growing portfolio of data centre investments and are delighted to now be making our first investment in the fibre sector. Rob and Mark are industry pioneers in South Africa and together with their institutional backers have created highly successful businesses in Octotel and RSAWEB. The investment opportunity is driven by the demand for reliable, high quality, high speed digital access in the home. We see first-hand the impact that affordable connectivity has in communities in South Africa for work, entertainment and education.”