The company’s share price jumped significantly following the news of the sale

Altice Europe has confirmed the sale of a 49.99 per cent stake in its French fibre network business, SFR FTTH. The stake has been sold to three investment funds, raising €1.8 billion. 

Altice Europe’s share price rocketed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange following news of the sale, with shares gaining 12 per cent to stand at €2.074. 

The company has struggled this year with spiralling debt levels and is continuing its policy of divesting non-core assets in an attempt to return its accounts to the black. 

“This represents a key step in reducing its debt burden. Its latest results underline the huge challenges in competing in a highly competitive French market. Altice can now focus on improving its margins,” said Paolo Pescatore, SVP of consumer research at Midia Research. 

SFR FTTH has committed to provide 5 million fibre to the home (FTTH) connections in France, with 1 million of these due to be delivered by the end of the year.  

The minority stake was acquired by Allianz Capital Partners, AXA Investment Managers and OMERS Infrastructure, and highlights a growing trend across Europe of wealth funds pumping money into FTTH initiatives. In the UK, Hyperoptic and CityFibre both received investments in excess of £100m, as wealth funds look to cash in on Europe’s fibre push.  

"It shows the growing focus on fibre especially with 5G around the corner. It will benefit the country and all providers,” added Pescatore. 

Earlier this year, Altice sold off its Swiss business unit, as well as its interests in the Dominican Republic to reduce its debts and boost cash flows on its balance sheet.  

Also in the news: 

Altice sells off Dominican towers business

Altice divests Swiss business unit

UK needs ‘multiple, competing fibre networks’