The infrastructure giant said the move would bolster its position in the Polish market, providing it with additional passive and active infrastructure
Spanish infrastructure specialist Cellnex is showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to making major acquisitions this year, today announcing an agreement to acquire 99.99% of Polish infrastructure company Polkomtel Infrastruktura.
Polkomtel Infrastruktura operates both the passive and active telecoms infrastructure for Cyfrowy Polsat, which encompasses around 7,000 telecommunication towers and sites; around 37,000 radio carriers covering all the bands used by 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G; around 11,300 km of fibre backbone and fibre-to-the-tower backhaul; and a national network of microwave radiolinks.
The purchase carried a price tag of €1.6 billion, as well as an obligation to roll out an additional 1,500 sites and spend €600 million on upgrading existing equipment over the next decade, primarily to facilitate 5G.
This move comes as a follow up to Cellnex’s expansion into Poland last year, when it spent around €800 million to purchase 7,000 sites from operator Play
, as well as taking a 60% stake in the creation of a new joint venture with Play that will manage the infrastructure.
“This is nothing new for Cellnex,” explained Cellnex CEO Tobias Martinez. “In several markets –e.g. France – we have already signed agreements to roll out and operate the fibre backbone and backhaul; to manage ‘data centres’ (voice and data traffic concentrators) that will be part of the 5G ‘edge computing’ ecosystem; or to operate distributed antenna systems (DAS) in sports and commercial venues, hospitals, transport networks, etc. Our expansion into active infrastructure is undoubtedly a qualitative leap and heralds a new reality for the company that broadens the development and growth options for Cellnex in Europe within telecommunications infrastructures.”
Cellnex expects this acquisition to increase their backlog of contracted sales by around €10 billion, reaching a total of around €110 billion.
Today also marked the release of Cellnex’s financial data for the end of the 2020 financial year and it is here that you can see the true impact of the past year’s merger and acquisition spree. The company had entered five new markets – Austria, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden – and consolidated its position in key markets such as France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK; as of December, the company has 58,014 operating sites.
Revenue itself has seen a meteoric rise, reaching €1.6 billion, up 55% from the previous year.
Martinez called 2020 “an exceptional year in Cellnex’s history in an equally exceptional time in our history”, noting that the company’s future focus will be on sustainability and social responsibility.
“Every business should be centred on sustainability and how to bring real value to society. We closed the CSR Master Plan 2016-2020 by complying with over 90% of the objectives that we set,” he said. “The group’s new ESG Master Plan 2021-2025 has concrete commitments, including that 40% of the Group’s energy consumption will be green by 2021 and 100% by 2025, and our suppliers will be expected to meet clear ESG criteria. Additionally, we will focus on attracting and promoting female talent and will develop digital inclusion projects that facilitate integration and access to connectivity for the most vulnerable groups and the most isolated territories.”
Cellnex is not the only company to be taking advantage of the immense investor appetite for passive infrastructure right now. Vodafone announced on Wednesday that it would be floating its new independent tower company, Vantage Towers, on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, hoping to raise around €3–4 billion from the IPO
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