IIF bets on broadband in second digital infra backing

The AMP-managed vehicle is eyeing an expansion into Europe through the acquisition of Irish broadband provider enet.

The Irish Infrastructure Fund has bought a 78 percent stake in Limerick-based broadband provider enet.

The fund, managed by AMP Capital and Irish Life Investment Managers, bought the share from Oakhill Advisors and other minority investors, although technology investment firm Granahan McCourt Capital will retain its interest. The size of the deal was undisclosed.

Enet is the operator of open-access fibre networks across Ireland and is currently bidding for contracts in Ireland’s National Broadband Plan worth €200 million. The IIF said its investment will also help the company in its “pan-European telecoms infrastructure investment strategy”.

“Demand for enet’s connectivity services are growing by close to 10 percent every year and this acquisition is an attractive opportunity for the IIF to invest in a business that is clearly aligned to the fund's investment strategy, where we see good potential for growth,” said AMP’s Philip Doyle, principal of the IIF.

The investment is the second the fund has made in the digital infrastructure sector. In 2013 it bought Towercom, Ireland’s largest wireless telecoms tower portfolio covering more than 400 masts. Other deals secured by the IIF include a 75 percent stake in a 104MW wind portfolio, the acquisition of the Convention Centre Dublin concession and most recently in February, the buyout of primary care health centres.

The IIF has raised approximately half of its €1 billion target since its inception in 2012 and has a targeted IRR of between 12 percent and 15 percent.