F2i returns to the ICT sector with Infracom
B2B services. F2i took over the ICT company Infracom from Abertis for 58 million Euros.
F2i lands back to the ICT sector through the acquisition of Infracom Italia from the Albertis Group. For 57.8 million Euros, the infrastructure fund chaired by Renato Ravanelli acquired from Serenissima Partecipazioni 94.12% of Infracom Italia, a company in Verona operating the in ICT services throughout Italy. Infracom closed 2016 with a 103.4 million Euro turnover and a 22 million Euro EBITDA. The company owns a 9,000 km long optical fibre network that runs along highways and extra-urban roads connecting over 35 Italian cities and including three data centres in Milan (located in the Via Caldera business park), Assago and Verona. The transaction will be completed through a company vessel owned by F2i’s Second Fund (80%) and Marguerite (20%) – a Luxembourg fund dedicated to infrastructure investments in Europe participated by the French CDP, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, BEI, the Spanish Instituto de Credito Oficial, the German KFW and the Polish PKO Bank Polski.
“The overall objective is to create a national champion that will provide TLC and IT services tailored on the needs of high-level companies”, Ravanelli explained. The telecommunication service portfolio offered to business clients includes added-value cloud services, such as data back-up, business continuity and security. It’s an extremely fragmented sector – Ravanelli explained – where you have two major operators (Telecom Italia and Fastweb) and dozens of small-to-medium enterprises. “It is imperative to overcome this condition of a market populated with extremely small companies that leads to inefficiency in the infrastructure segments in order to achieve economies of scale that will allow for a more effective competition. To this extent, the F2i fund aims to become an aggregating entity, starting with Infracom, in order to achieve sufficient financial power to face competition.”
At the same time, F2i and Marguerite also negotiated with UniCredit, Intesa-Sanpaolo, Ubi and ING a line of credit to finance Infracom’s debt, which at the end of 2016 recorded a 70 million Euro net negative position. A recapitalisation for a still to be defined amount is planned after finalisation of the acquisition (the closing is scheduled in the second half of July) in order to reduce the debt and foster the company development. The buyer was advised for the deal by Lyra Partners, the Giliberti Triscornia law firm, Bain and KPMG; the selling party was counselled by Banca Imi, Bonelli Erede and E&Y.
Thanks to this transaction, F2i’s portfolio now includes 15 companies operating in eight different infrastructure sectors (see the table below) with a total 3 billion Euro annual revenue, 1.2 billion Euro aggregated EBITDA and approximately 13,000 staff. The company is the number one leader in the Italian airport segment as to number of passengers and ranks second in gas distribution with 2i Rete Gas with its 4 million users (first company as to geographical coverage). Furthermore, F2i is the biggest entity in the solar energy branch, thanks to the joint venture with Enel, and ranks among the top companies in the wind energy sector.
After closing the Metroweb investment, will F2i focus on specialised fields abandoning TLCs? This is what one may assume after, at the beginning of this year, F2i did not follow up to the option to enter OpenFiber – the CDP-Enel joint venture that acquired Metroweb and won the first two tenders to build the optical fibre network in the so-called “white areas” after market failure, i.e. where private entities wouldn’t invest autonomously (and where on the other hand Telecom is now modernising its network, sometimes arising some controversies). However, “when the option expired, the new company didn’t have yet a sufficiently detailed plan to be able to consider this investment”, Ravanelli explained. “Right now, nothing indicates that OpenFiber is actively looking for a new equity partner. When they will, we will evaluate the situation.”
As to Telecom, which is also looking for a majority partner for the newco of the FTTC network in less profitable areas, F2i did not have the chance to take the investment into consideration. “No one contacted in this regard”, Ravanelli briefly commented.
The investments of the fund
Sea (Linate, Malpensa) 44%
Gesac (Naples) 75%
Sagat (Turin) 78%
Bologna airport 10%
Sogeaal (Alghero) 71%
Software design 54%
Integrated water services
Iren Acqua (60% Iren Group) 40%
2i Rete Gas 72%
Kos (60% CIR Group) 40%
Alerion – wind 16%
Ef Solare Italia (50% Enel Group) 50%
E2i – wind (30% Edison Group) 70%
Veronagest – wind 100%
16 Subsidiary companies
8 Infrastructure sectors
3.1 billion Euro aggregated returns
1.3 billion Euro MOL
Approx. 460 million Euros Capex
Approx. -13,300 Employees
Fonte: Il Sole 24 Ore