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Investment firm AIIM, consortium acquire 25.8% stake in South Africa's MetroFibre

June 20, 2021

The African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Africa’s infrastructure-focused private equity fund managers, along with a consortium comprising South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF), through its Digital Infrastructure Consortium platform and STOA, a foreign investment vehicle based in France, have agreed to acquire 25.8% interest in MetroFibre Networx (MFN) held by Sanlam Private Equity, African Rainbow Capital and a minority shareholder.

This transaction follows the ZAR1.5 billion equity funding round concluded in December 2020 by AIIM, SAHIF and STOA in order to support MetroFibre’s ZAR3.0 billion capital expansion plan over the next three years. The transaction also introduces the Old Mutual Hybrid Equity Fund 1 General Partnership, managed by Hybrid Equity (HE), a division of Old Mutual Alternative Investments (OMAI), as funding provider to SAHIF, which is owned by Rali Mampeule and Kameel Keshav and is the strategic empowerment partner to MFN.

Ed Stumpf, Investment Director, AIIM: “This transaction secures AIIM’s investment vehicle Digital Infrastructure Investment Holdings as the largest single shareholder in MFN and underlines AIIM and the broader Old Mutual Alternative Investment Group’s continued support for the MetroFibre team as a platform for connectivity growth in South Africa. In addition to the significant ramp up in digital volumes as a result of telecommuting during the pandemic, AIIM continues to see strong growth potential for quality high-speed digital infrastructure in South Africa and is excited to work together with the MFN management team and our partners SAHIF and STOA to deliver infrastructure which connects South Africans and enables the digital economy.”

The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approvals and is envisaged to reach financial close during the second half of 2021. The investment reinforces AIIM, SAHIF and STOA’s belief in the potential of the digital infrastructure sector in South Africa and their support for the management team of MFN.

Rali Mampeule, CEO, SAHIF: “As a land fund player, we want to ultimately integrate the use of Digital Fibre and Technology to transform affordable housing into an Integrated Housing Platform. We have created a concept called “New Smart City and Smart Living,” a strategy to redefine affordable housing by enabling seamless engagement between the online and offline world. This transaction and the resultant increase of our shareholding in MetroFibre compliments this strategy for our group.”

MetroFibre, which was launched in 2010, is a high-growth player in South Africa’s Fibre-To-The-Home (“FTTH”) and Fibre-To-The-Business (“FTTB”) markets. Over the last 10 years, MetroFibre has expanded its service offering to both residential and corporate customers, in line with its strategic objective of being a diversified operator. MetroFibre owns and manages its core network which is a globally compliant Carrier Ethernet 2.0 open access network.

Steve Booysen, CEO, MetroFibre: “This rationalisation of the shareholder base will allow MFN to continue with its growth strategy and play a leading role in the sector’s consolidation process, with a strong leadership and operational team and significant shareholders of reference.”

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