China’s CITIC Telecom to buy European network

Acquiring Linx Telecoms will ease the Chinese company's expansion into European and Central Asian markets.

CITIC Telecom International Holdings has agreed to acquire the telecommunication business of Amsterdam-based Linx Group in a bid to gain a foothold in Europe and Central Asia.

Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, the Chinese company is acquiring telecom infrastructure and business operations that serve customers in 14 countries, with 24 points of presence across the region. 

The network covers what the company sees as “high-growth potential markets”: Russia, Kazakhstan and the 'Stan' region, the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe. 

The acquired assets also include Linx’s 470km optic fibre network in the Baltic Sea, network operations centres in Moscow and Tallinn, Estonia, as well as a data centre in Tallinn – the largest Internet Exchange in the country. 

The majority of customers are large companies that require data services, such as Ethernet circuits, bandwidth services, MPLS virtual private networks, data centres and cloud computing.

The deal, which remains subject to regulatory approval, is expected to complete in the second half of 2016. Its value was not disclosed. 

“The acquisition of Linx Telecommunications is a testament to CITIC Telecom’s commitment in capturing opportunities brought about by the One Belt, One Road Initiative,” the company said in a statement.

“By extending our footprint to Russian-speaking markets and Central Asia, we will enhance network access for our existing customers and facilitate greater business growth across Asia and Europe,” said Stephen Ho, chief executive of CITIC Telecom CPC, the company's Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, adding that Russian-proficient Linx team members will join the company.