South African fibre broadband provider MetroFibre Networx, which is led by former Absa CEO Steve Booysen, has raised R1.5-billion in a new funding round led by infrastructure-focused private equity fund manager African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).
The deal gives AIIM, which is investing R980-million, a minority stake in MetroFibre Networx, the quantum of which was not disclosed. The investment was made through the newly incorporated Digital Infrastructure Investment Holdings.
AIIM is a member of Old Mutual Alternative Investments and has been investing in the African infrastructure sector since 2000. Its investment, through its Ideas Managed and AIIF3 Funds, “will support MetroFibre’s plans to densify its network in existing areas and expand its offering to an additional 300 000 residential homes across cities and towns nationwide over the next three years”.
Existing MetroFibre shareholder STOA, a foreign investment vehicle based in France, is providing incremental funding as part of the transaction, together with new investment by the founders of the South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund, Rali Mampeule and Kameel Keshav. Other shareholders in MetroFibre include Sanlam Private Equity and African Rainbow Capital.
MetroFibre was launched in 2010 as a high-growth player in South Africa’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-business (FTTB) markets.
In a statement, STOA CEO Charles-Henri Malecot said: “The successful closing of this capital raise signals our full confidence in the company and its management in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and demonstrates the strong resilience of the fibre sub-sector and the growing market momentum in both the FTTH and FTTB segments in the African continent.”
The deal will strengthen MetroFibre’s empowerment credentials through the investment by Mampeule and Keshav, who are CEO and chief financial officer of the South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund. They have been introduced as strategic empowerment partners through the new Digital Infrastructure consortium.
MetroFibre CEO Booysen said in the statement: “The successful capital raise will allow MetroFibre to continue with its growth strategy and explore acquisition opportunities… In addition to our organic growth plan, the successful capital raise ensures that MetroFibre is well placed to play a leading role in the sector’s consolidation process, given our strong leadership and operational teams, as well as significant shareholders of reference.”