Vauban IP - an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers - closes the transaction related to its broadband platform that was initiated last year. Vauban Infra Fibre was publicly launched in June 2020 in partnership with Vauban’s partner wholesale operator Axione. The aim of the platform is to reinforce the robustness and resiliency of its existing digital assets by pooling them into a single platform and gathering additional financial capacity and commercial strength to further address major future developments to support digitalization across the country.
This closing materializes the effective transfer of Vauban’s existing broadband assets to that platform and the entry at the capital of VIF of all Vauban’s Funds alongside long-term institutional investors investing in direct or through a co-investment vehicle managed by Vauban IP. This complex transaction was accomplished thanks to the support of a wide range of external advisors (Macquarie Capital, Clifford Chance, Analysys Mason, Eight Advisory, Arsene Taxand, Atoz) to successfully transfer the existing assets to the new company and opening-up its capital to third-party long term investors in order to provide VIF with the adequate financing capacity required to address foreseen market opportunities.
The significance of the transaction has particularly been highlighted in the view of the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences that have, in many ways, led to economic overturn. It has reminded the government, investors and users of the key role that digital technology and its applications play in maintaining the continuity of economic and social lives of communities. Digital infrastructure is essential for ensuring this continuity across all local communities, while it provides individuals and businesses with equal access to digital tools which contribute to resilience, innovation, social cohesion and economic development. The digitalization of communities has been set as a major challenge and ranked as a highest priority by the French government in its economic recovery plan.
Vauban Infra Fibre’s unique, global offering sets it apart. As a shared infrastructure platform, it is open to all operators. This is what has made the French model a success: a single infrastructure available to all operators, in order to maximize digital coverage at national level. Its large-scale development targets a total of 11 million FFTH plugs in the next two years. This project involves a major investment plan of which, a clear translation of Vauban IP and Axione’s continuing commitment in this strategic sector with a promising future.
Vauban IP and Axione have worked together in the past to successfully finance and roll out and run numerous digital networks. They were pioneers in the Public Initiative Networks market following the launch of the first generation (ADSL technology) concessions almost ten years ago. The success of their partnership resides first and foremost in a shared philosophy: investing in developing essential infrastructure for local development which in turn allows them to expand the ranges of useful services available to all, while taking account of the interests of all stakeholders.
By gathering all these investments in a single platform, VIF benefits from a leadership position in France as it is a unique and independent wholesale player with a national footprint. At this stage, VIF get a large coverage of the French territory that will encompass rural areas, mid-dense areas and urban areas.
Gwenola Chambon, CEO and Founding Partner of Vauban Infrastructure Partners commented: “Digital infrastructure has become essential for local communities. Our role as investors is to help local authorities seize this opportunity for development. By setting up this national platform – Vauban Infra Fibre – we are helping to channel the long-term resources of institutional investors, making them available for the real economy with a positive and sustainable impact. This large-scale project is fully aligned with our strategy of active asset manager and responsible investor and fits our ambition to finance infrastructure essential to the development of local communities.”
Steve Ledoux, Partner and Senior Investment Director at Vauban Infrastructure Partners added: “Vauban Infra Fibre is a culmination of Vauban’s investments in the digital infrastructure market that we have pioneered back in 2009 and gained a market leader position in 2020. The financial strength of the transaction being backed by strong third-party institutional investors, its critical size and its major impact on the future infrastructure investments is the achievement that Vauban and Axione can be proud of. The innovative and unique structure of the platform that provides access to all the retail operators is a goal Vauban has pursued.”
Aveen Ghurbhurn, Partner and Investment Director at Vauban Infrastructure Partners concluded: “We have seen a very strong increase in the demand for fiber connections in France. Access of local communities to digital infrastructure has become an essential utility and can be compared to water, gas or other urban distribution networks. Although urban customers enjoy a relative ease of access to fiber networks in many countries, people in rural areas are much harder to reach, with governments and investors alike still searching for solutions to this issue. Therefore, Vauban Infra Fibre’s contribution to the sustainable industry development has been a critical goal for us when delivering this transaction.”
For further reading:
Vauban Infrastructure Partners
Affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers
Société en Commandite par Actions – Limited Partnership by shares
Share capital : €10 076 680.20
Regulated by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) under n° GP – 19000044
RCS Paris 833 488 778
115 Rue Montmartre
Natixis Investment Managers
RCS Paris 453 952 681
Share Capital: €178 251 690
43 avenue Pierre Mendès France
This communication is for information only and is intended for investment service providers or other Professional Clients. The analyses and opinions referenced herein represent the subjective views of the author as referenced unless stated otherwise and are subject to change. There can be no assurance that developments will transpire as may be forecasted in this material.
Copyright © 2020 Natixis Investment Managers S.A. – All rights reserved.