The portfolio consists of approximately 300 telecommunications masts and equipment locations across Coillte's estate. A number of the masts were built by Coillte in recent years and certain locations include optical fibre connectivity. Ireland's leading mobile network operators are the primary customers of the portfolio.
A new Irish based company which shall trade as "Cignal" has been formed to own and manage the business. Cignal will be chaired by Donal O'Shaughnessy who has extensive experience in the telecoms infrastructure sector.
This transaction marks Rubicon's second Irish infrastructure M&A deal within a month, the firm has acted as financial advisor for InfraVia on its acquisition. Infravia has been also advised by A&L Goodbody (legal) and BDO (tax), while Coillte has been advised by Goodbody (corporate finance), Arthur Cox (legal) and PWC (accounting and tax).
Commenting on the transaction Fergal Leamy, Chief Executive of Coillte, said:
"Coillte's core business is forestry and it is our ambition to maximise the economic and social value of each hectare we manage. The transaction we are announcing today is an outstanding example of the value we can create from an innovative and strategic approach to managing our estate. From a few hundred remote hilltops we have created a business with real value. I want to give credit to the team for the fantastic job they have done in firstly building a great business and secondly helping realise this value now so we can continue to invest and grow our core business. This transaction will strengthen our balance sheet and support our plans to invest €59 million in our SmartPly facility in Waterford Port and further investment in our windfarm portfolio in the coming years."
Vincent Levita, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of InfraVia said:
"Our acquisition of the Coillte telecoms portfolio is highly consistent with our strategy of investing in midcap high-quality infrastructure assets. We are delighted to enter the Irish infrastructure market with an investment offering interesting growth prospects considering the ongoing 4G roll-out, the National Broadband Plan as well as the current requirement of additional coverage from mobile operators. We look forward to working with Coillte as a long-term partner, to developing with the management team these growth opportunities and establishing Cignal as a leading player in the Irish telecoms market."
While sites at 298 locations are included in the sale the total area of land associated with these sites is less than 15 hectares and Coillte has assured the public that access to its forests for recreation use will be unaffected by the sale of this telecoms portfolio.