APG takes 75% stake in Dutch telecoms firm

CIF sells its interest in OTC, which has a portfolio of more than 800 mobile sites.

Dutch pension manager APG has bought a 75 percent share of local mobile telecoms site operator Open Towers Company.

Investing on behalf of pension scheme ABP, it has bought the equity interest from Rabo Bouwfonds Communication Infrastructure Fund (CIF), a 2009-vintage, €700 million vehicle focused on Dutch telecoms infrastructure in which ABP is an investor. The parties declined to disclose the size of the deal.

The remainder of OTC will be held by current shareholder NOVEC, an operator of Dutch telecoms and broadcasting infrastructure sites. NOVEC and CIF formed OTC in December 2009, seeding the new company with 139 mobile masts from KPN and the pair have since grown the portfolio to own more than 800 mobile telecoms sites.

“The telecoms industry is an attractive sector for ABP,” said Corien Wortmann-Kool, chair of the pension fund. “It offers strong growth opportunities and provides diversification of the infrastructure portfolio. Through this investment ABP is able to contribute to managing and developing crucial infrastructure for mobile communication in the Netherlands, especially in the rural areas.”

CIF has also made investments in fibre-optic broadband and television and radio connections. The 10-year fund was yielding a 20.9 percent return as at the end of last year, according to documents from Bouwfonds. The Rabobank subsidiary earlier this year launched a Germany-focused successor to CIF and reached a €100 million first close ahead of a €300 million target.

The acquisition of OTC is the latest addition to the ABP infrastructure portfolio since APG agreed a deal in July to buy the 48-asset-strong portfolio of DIF II. As at the end of the first six months of this year, ABP’s infrastructure weighting stood at 2.7 percent, a slight rise on the 2.3 percent six months previously.