Dominant French multiplay telco Orange has entered into an exclusivity agreement with La Banque des Territoires (Caisse des Dépôts), CNP Assurances and EDF Invest for the sale of a 50 per cent equity interest and co-control of fibre-optic unit Orange Concessions.
With 23 public initiative networks (PIN) representing over 4.5 million built or to-be-built plugs, Orange Concessions will be France’s leading fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) operator of networks rolled out and operated on behalf of local public authorities.
The partnership between Orange and long-term and renowned investors in both infrastructure and local development will enable Orange Concessions to fully seize growth opportunities. This transaction will allow Orange to support its ambitions in public initiative networks while sharing required investment.
The networks operated by Orange Concessions on behalf of local public authorities are open to all operators. Fibre roll-out and maintenance will continue to be performed by Orange who holds an efficient and proven industrial tool. On a local level, the teams working in partnership with local authorities with maintain the same level of mobilisation and commitment.
This transaction values Orange Concessions at €2.675 billion, which the telco says highlights the value and the relevance of its investments in fibre. Orange will hold a call option that will enable it to take control and consolidate Orange Concessions in the future.
The transaction is expected to close by end 2021.
“I am delighted that Orange, Europe’s leader in fibre roll-out, is now set to establish this partnership in its domestic market with recognised investors who share our vision of digital communication infrastructure development,” declared Stéphane Richard, Chairman & CEO of Orange.
“Through this partnership, Orange holds the means to pursue the development of fibre in rural areas, by winning new public initiative networks or by participating in market consolidation. This is a key milestone in the delivery of our Engage 2025 strategic plan,” he added.
“As to its financial merits, the achieved valuation reveals the value of Orange’s investments in fibre as well as the relevance of such strategic move.”