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InfraVia snaps up 300 Irish telecom towers

The French firm, whose Fund II is now 70% deployed, plans to refinance the newly formed business within the next three months.

Paris-based fund manager InfraVia has bought a portfolio of nearly 300 telecom towers owned by Coillte, a state-backed forestry business based in Ireland.

The transaction, due to close on Friday, will see the creation of a new company called Cignal that will own and manage the assets. It is understood that InfraVia will seek to refinance the business by raising bank debt within the next three months.

The deal value hasn’t been disclosed.

Telecoms is one of the sectors the firm is currently seeking to dial up its exposure to with renewed vigour, Vincent Levita, Infravia’s founder, chief executive and chief investment officer, told Infrastructure Investor during a phone interview.

“Towers offer quite a stable business plan, and there is potential for growth with the roll-out of 4G and 5G technologies.”

Levita also described Ireland, a country that had landed back on its feet after going through a difficult crisis, as an infrastructure market that offered a dynamic environment in which to invest. He underlined the National Broadband Plan, as well as current requirements for additional coverage on the part of mobile operators, as positive forces behind the development of businesses like Cignal.

Meanwhile downside risks were limited, he noted, because the consolidation of the Irish telecom market had already happened – at a time when a number of other European countries were going through one of their own – and because Cignal’s towers, operating in a rural environment, faced far less danger of being duplicated than their urban counterparts.

The investment brings the capital deployed by the firm’s Fund II, closed in January 2014 on €530 million, to 70 percent of its initial dry powder. The firm expects to be making one more investment through the vehicle.