Carraun takes 6% stake in Proximus
November 15, 2023
By Colin Mann
Xavier Niel-controlled Carraun, the parent company of Irish telco Eir, has confirmed that it holds an approximately 6 per cent interest in Belgian multiplay operator Proximus.
Carraun says it is making the investment in Proximus to get exposure to the Belgian leader in connectivity, describing it as “the undisputed domestic leader” in fixed and mobile, with a strong track record among the European incumbents. “Proximus has also managed to develop a successful international business via its affiliates BICS and Telesign, a unique position among EU incumbents,” says Carraun.
“As the Irish incumbent – with more than 2 million subscribers and the number one domestic FTTH network – Carraun via Eir has a deep understanding of Proximus business,” says he company. “Eir is currently pursuing a strategy similar to Proximus with a relentless focus on (i) offering best value for money to its customers, (ii) hiring and retaining top quality management and employees, and (iii) investing billions in 5G and FTTH networks,” it adds.
Niel has developed a pan-European telecoms business with presence in nine European countries, nearly 50 million subscribers and combined Revenues of over €10 billion, with the group suggesting it has also acquired a unique expertise in FTTH networks with more than 40 million FTTH homes passed across its various geographies (owned and through dedicated wholesale agreements). Niel is constantly looking to strengthen its European base and sees Proximus as a very attractive and long-term investment.
Carraun is supportive of the current strategy of Proximus top management, and in particular its ambitious FTTH roll-out plan. Carraun is willing to cooperate with Proximus management and is looking forward to building a mutually beneficial partnership, with the ambition to favour value creation for both companies and economic development for both Belgium and Ireland.
“We have built a pan-European telecom group over the past decade always focussing on providing our customers with best value for money and relying on high quality mobile and fixed network infrastructure,” said Neil. “I have been attracted by the Belgian market for a long time with its strong economy and where a sound regulatory approach has led to a vibrant telecom sector, as demonstrated in the recently discussed FTTH co-investment plan. I am very pleased that we now have the opportunity to invest in Proximus and hopefully create ties for the long-term. Proximus is an iconic operator whose history is closely associated with Belgium. Over the years, Proximus has managed to adapt to a rapidly changing telecom environment and remain the national leader. It would be an honour if we could contribute as a long-term partner to the future evolution of Proximus.”