Banks Stump Up €3.5 billion For Open Fiber FTTH
Largest EverEMEA Structured Finance Operation For Full Fibre Access
Italy'swholesale provider Open Fiber has signed a seven-year €3.5 billion finance dealto fund the expansion of its FTTH network. The deal, inked with a pool ofcommercial banks, the public sector investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestitiand the European Investment Bank (EIB), is billed as the largest EMEAstructured finance operation aimed at developing a fully fibre optic accessnetwork.
Theexpansion of Open Fiber's FTTH network (aka the Open Fiber Industrial Plan) hasbeen costed at some €6.5 billion. It aims at bringing direct fibre access tosome 19.5 million real estate units, both in urban areas and in less populatedcentres.
“Thefinancial market has shown great interest in the Open Fiber Industrial Plan.The transaction involves the most important Italian and international creditinstitutions," commented Open Fiber CEO Elisabetta Ripa. “This is an importantsign of confidence in the project, in the wholesale-only model, and especiallyin the Open Fiber people who have done a fantastic job in recent months “.
“Thepresence in the pool of lenders of several foreign financial intermediaries ofprimary importance is, implicitly, a sign of confidence in our country,significant in a phase of nervousness of the markets," stated Franco Bassanini,President of Open Fiber. He added that the operation was also a newdemonstration of the growing attention of the markets for the validity of thebusiness model adopted by Open Fiber and other innovative European companies,which is the most suitable to create, with long-term investments, theinfrastructures required to build the new generation network for the GigabitSociety.
Thepool of commercial banks is made up of BNP Paribas, Société Générale andUniCredit, as underwriter, Global Coordinator, lobal Bookrunners and Initial Mandatedlead arrangers, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the EIB. In addition, amongItalian institutes are Banca IMI, Banco BPM, MPS Capital Services and UBI Bancaand, among international organisations, Credit Agricole, ING, Caixa Bank, MUFGBank, Natwest and Banco Santander, as lenders. Unicredit also acted as agent.
Simultaneouslywith the disbursement of the new loan, expected by October 2018, Open Fiberwill provide for the full repayment of its current debt.