The PwC Corporate Finance team is pleased to announce it has advised Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G, in relation to their portfolio company Fibrus Limited (“Fibrus”), a fibre broadband provider in Northern Ireland, on their successful bid for the £165m Project Stratum contract to deliver fibre broadband to more than 76k rural premises across Northern Ireland.
PwC Corporate Finance acted as exclusive lead financial advisor to Infracapital on the transaction. Strategy& provided Commercial Due Diligence services.
Fibrus is a fibre broadband provider focussing on providing connectivity to rural towns and villages across Northern Ireland. Infracapital acquired a controlling interest in the business earlier this year.
In early 2020, the Department for Economy in Northern Ireland ran a procurement process to select a Fibre-to-the-Premises (‘FTTP’) provider to deliver high speed fibre broadband to more than 76,000 rural premises across the province (Project Stratum). Following a competitive process, Fibrus secured the contract ahead of BT Openreach.
Government subsidy of c. £165m is being provided to fund the rollout, £150m of which was allocated through the Confidence and Supply Agreement. Fibrus will also invest substantially in its network build as it continues its rollout of FTTP to over 145,000 premises across regional and rural areas of Northern Ireland.
The deal represents a significant step forward in providing next generation connectivity to the region. Fibrus will provide a full fibre solution, capable of offering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second to almost 97% of premises within the Stratum intervention area, connecting primarily rural communities across Northern Ireland that cannot yet access Next Generation Access broadband services. The project will support Northern Ireland’s long-term economic growth as the world shifts to a digital-first economy, while also creating 700 jobs across the region.
The PwC team was led by James Pincus and Asim Iqbal, supported by Lee Lindley, Venetia Andrew, Andrew Copeland, George Eaton and Toby Hughes.
The Strategy& team was led by Brian Burns, supported by Kris Stromdale, Dimitrios Pichliavas and Deborah Herzberg.
“We’re delighted to have been able to support Infracapital on this successful bid. Providing rural properties with access to fast broadband is vital in ensuring that these communities stay connected and have access to services many of us take for granted. We wish them every success with their roll out plan over the coming years.”
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