AIIM becomes MetroFibre’s largest shareholder

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MetroFibre CEO Jan-Jan Bezuidenhout.
MetroFibre CEO Jan-Jan Bezuidenhout.

African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), an infrastructure-focused private equity fund manager, has completed a follow-on acquisition of MetroFibre Networx, following approval from the Independent Communications Authority of SA.

In a statement, AIIM says alongside a consortium comprising South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund and STOA, a foreign investment vehicle based in France, it has acquired an additional 25.8% interest in MetroFibre, previously held by Sanlam Private Equity, African Rainbow Capital and a minority shareholder.

The development now brings AIIM’s total investment in MetroFibre to 37%, making it the largest single shareholder in the fibre company.

This transaction was first announced in June last year, but had to wait for regulatory approvals, which have now been granted.

MetroFibre, which was launched in 2010, is a significant player in the fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-business markets.

“The transaction secures AIIM’s investment vehicle Digital Infrastructure Investment Holdings as the single largest shareholder in MetroFibre at a time when the business is rapidly expanding its fibre footprint,” says AIIM investment director Thor Corry.

“MetroFibre has accelerated rollout to a point where it is now one of the largest South African fibre-to-the-home players by homes passed, but there remains a long way to go to address connectivity shortfalls in the country.

“The streamlined shareholder register is united in its support for the MetroFibre management team and provides the access to capital necessary to realise their growth ambitions.”

Newly appointed MetroFibre CEO Jan-Jan Bezuidenhout comments: “Over the past year, MetroFibre has accelerated its fibre rollout with over 350 000 homes passed as at 31 April 2022, and we are aiming to pass an additional 500 000 homes by 2025.

“We continue to pursue innovative approaches to address South Africa’s connectivity shortfalls and are pioneering unique solutions that cater for customers with different needs. This includes a pay-as-you-go model for underserved areas and packages which suit those who only require intermittent use, removing the need to commit to lengthy contracts.

“This is particularly important for affordable housing estates and residential areas with high rental occupancy where customers want to avoid being tied into long-term contracts, or don’t need an ‘always-on’ service.

“We welcome the changes in the shareholder base and look forward to growing the business with their support.”

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