CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent carrier-neutral Full Fibre platform, has confirmed a debt package totalling £4.9 billion – fully funding its rollout to a third of the UK market by 2025.
The facilities form one of the largest single financings dedicated to Full Fibre deployment across Europe.
The firm is currently bringing Full Fibre broadband to Coventry, Swindon, and Cheltenham.
The new banking facilities see CityFibre’s Full Fibre infrastructure platform now backed by many of the world’s leading financial institutions.
The debt raise is underwritten by NatWest, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole CIB, BBVA, Intesa Sanpaolo, ING and SEB; with ABN AMRO, Lloyds Bank and the pensions and M&G Investments, the international asset manager, joining as core lenders.
Also participating as a core lender is the recently established UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB), recognising CityFibre’s contribution to critical national infrastructure deployment and the Government’s levelling up programme.
On behalf of CityFibre, NatWest and Société Générale acted as financial advisors, Lloyds coordinated the UKIB’s involvement, and Latham & Watkins acted as legal advisor.
The financing follows £1.125 billion in equity investments that CityFibre has closed in the last ten months from two new investors, Mubadala and Interogo Holding as well as from existing investors Antin Infrastructure Partners and the Infrastructure business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
Combined, these debt and equity funds will fully finance the completion of CityFibre’s rollout to 8 million homes, 800k businesses, 400k public sector sites and 250k 5G access points.
They will also establish the UK’s first large-scale, carrier-neutral Full Fibre infrastructure platform, providing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile operators with access to the nation’s most advanced fixed-line network and unleashing over £38 billion in economic benefits to help level up the UK1.
The funds will also enable CityFibre to upweight its participation in BDUK’s ‘Project Gigabit’ rural programme. By extending its networks to rural areas surrounding the 285 cities, towns and villages identified in its existing rollout, CityFibre is well placed to support the Government’s rural coverage objective, ensuring that millions of rural homes can enjoy the same high-quality digital infrastructure as urban areas.
Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer of CityFibre, said: “Over the last decade we’ve built a business that has transformed the UK’s digital connectivity landscape for the better. With our rollout now fully financed, backed by so many esteemed financial institutions, we have emerged as a strong national challenger.
“But CityFibre’s aim is not simply to challenge. It’s to be better. It’s to establish ourselves as the preferred network wherever we build, bringing higher-quality, more affordable infrastructure within reach of millions and unleashing the transformative economic potential of Full Fibre to help level up the UK. We have never been more confident that we will succeed.”
John Flint, CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, said: “We are pleased to act as a cornerstone investor in what will be the largest digital debt transaction in the UK market to date, connecting a third of UK households with fast and reliable broadband throughout England and Scotland.
“It is clear how important good quality connectivity is for the UK economy, and in addressing regional inequalities.”