Aberdeen, Macquarie in big Spanish fibre deal

Gershon Cohen, Global Head of Infrastructure at Aberdeen Standard Investments

Macquarie Capital, Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) and Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure (DEI), the investors behind Spain’s Onivia Network, have acquired a majority stake in a large rural fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network from MasMovil.

Onivia, Spain’s first independent fibre network operator, will double in size following the acquisition.

“This fibre network, which will cover around 1.1m building units in well over a thousand Spanish rural communities, was previously wholly owned by telecoms operator MasMovil,” said Macquarie.

“This rural network currently provides wholesale access services in rural areas spread across Spain.

“MasMovil will retain a minority stake in the rural network and full ownership for its existing customers in the sold network.

“Roughly two thirds of the total planned size of the network has already been built out and the full rural network is expected to be completed by 2022.

“This rural network will be commercialized by Onivia, an independent wholesale network operator, launched by Macquarie and ASI in early 2020, and joined by DEI in May 2020.

“MasMovil will be the network’s technological partner, carrying out both the deployment of new households and the operation and maintenance of the fibre optic network sold.

“Onivia provides an alternative, independent source of wholesale fibre capacity for all internet service providers (ISPs) and smaller broadband businesses.

“The new network will complement Onivia’s current coverage in Spain’s five largest cities (Madrid, Seville, Valencia, Barcelona and Malaga), and provide Onivia with a national presence.”

Gershon Cohen, Global Head of Infrastructure at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the need to ensure that people and businesses are connected, particularly in more rural communities.

“Investing in fibre optic projects is crucial not only as we drive towards economic recovery, but also in seeking to redress the imbalance of social inequality.

“We are delighted to continue to support this significant investment opportunity in the Spanish fibre network, allowing us to expand our commitment to seek long term stable returns for our investors, whilst improving IT efficiency and sustainability thereby contributing to a greener future.”