EQT expands in Netherlands with CAIW takeover

Friday 17 November 2017 | 09:38 CET | News

Investment fund EQT Infrastructure is expanding further in the Netherlands with an agreement to buy the operator CAIW and its network operator CIF from Rabo Bouwfonds CIF. CAIW and CIF operate a fibre and coax network covering over 350,000 households and add to EQT's takeover of the Zeeland operator Delta last year. 

CAIW employs approximately 210 people and generated sales of EUR 112 million in 2016. It had just under 200,000 TV customers and around 155,000 broadband subscribers in Q3 2017. Its main coverage is in parts of The Hague, Rotterdam and Overijssel province, and it has been expanding in rural areas thanks to fibre network roll-out by parent CIF. EQT said it will also take over CIF, which handles the network operations. 

The company pledged to invest in the continued development of CAIW’s growth strategy while strengthening its market position and exploring opportunities to expand its existing fibre network. 

EQT said the takeover underlines its commitment to developing fibre assets in the Netherlands. CAIW will be grouped in the same holding as Delta and led by the same management, with Marco Visser as CEO. 

The transaction is still subject to regulatory clearance and input from works council. Its expected to close before year-end; no financial details were disclosed. 

Telecompaper estimates that together with Delta and CAIW, EQT will reach around 6.0 to 6.5 percent of the Dutch market, with a network covering 510,000 households. Delta is slightly smaller than CAIW, with an estimated 134,000 TV customers and 100,000 broadband subscribers. 

CIF (Communication Infrastructure Fund) was started by pension funds to invest in telecom infrastructure and began by acquiring a number of small cable networks in the Netherlands, such as CAIW. Since then its focus has expanded to converting the networks to fibre and expanding to rural areas. It was previously the subject of a takeover bid by KPN in 2011 but this was abandoned due to regulatory opposition. 

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