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EQT can consolidate rest of Dutch cable market

Monday 20 November 2017 | 11:55 CET | Market Commentary

EQT Infrastructure III, a fund of the Swedish investor EQT, has agreed to acquire Dutch operator CIF and its unit CAIW from the local investor Rabo Bouwfonds CIF. The deal includes passive and active FTTH and cable infrastructure and services, both retail (Caiway) and wholesale (to customers such as Fiber NL/M7 and Solcon/KPN). The assets will be combined with the earlier acquired Delta, which also operates a network (Delta) and services (ZeelandNet and energy). CIF earlier sold its 800 tower sites in the Netherlands to the pension fund ABP. 

The acquired network passes around 350,000 premises spread across the Netherlands, following CIF's takeover of a string of local cable companies and expansion of FTTH networks in rural areas. This includes roll-outs underway. The new company will be led by Marco Visser, already CEO of Delta and previously at M7 and KPN. 

Can EQT consolidate the rest of the cable market?

RBCIF clearly found it was time to exit and not extend its fund. Its exit gives EQT the opportunity to consolidate what's left of the Dutch telecom market outside KPN and VodafoneZiggo.

We can conclude that services provider Caiway is no longer for sale. The ISP did not fit in CIF's portfolio, but does work at EQT. Furthermore, the last remaining cable companies in the Netherlands (Rekam, Kabelnoord, SKV, Kabeltex, Pijnacker, Edam-Volendam, Bleiswijk, KT Waalre) may also join EQT. None of these have wanted to sell to Ziggo or CIF, while EQT may inspire more confidence in executing a long-term strategy. 

EQT's portfolio underlines its belief in fibre; late last year it also acquired Spain's Adamo. It also owns data centres and software and IT companies. 

The Netherlands can be happy with the growing interest in (passive) infrastructure from parties ranging from EQT and pension funds to Cellnex and Antin (Eurofiber). More to follow. 



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