AIIM-backed MetroFibre acquires Link Africa's FTTH infrastructure

22 Apr 2021

MetroFibre has acquired the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network and infrastructure of Link Africa in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal, adding another 10 000 homes passed to MetroFibre’s rapidly growing fibre network in South Africa.  The deal is effective 1 April 2021 with a transition period that is expected to be completed by the end of June 2021.

At the close of the deal, MetroFibre will rank among the top five fibre network operators in South Africa in terms of the number of homes passed, with its open-access network currently passing over 205,000 homes in five provinces across South Africa.  The acquisition of Link Africa’s FTTH infrastructure follows hot on the heels of an announcement in March 2021 by MetroFibre that it had secured R2.5 billion in debt funding to expand its fibre rollout in South Africa.  This is alongside a recent R1.5 billion equity raise towards the end of 2020.

“As part of our growth strategy, we’ll be looking at building and extending our infrastructure organically, as well as pursuing strategic acquisitions of existing infrastructure networks from fibre network operators. The combination of organic growth, successful capital raises and a focused acquisition strategy will see MetroFibre well placed to play a leading role in the sector’s unfolding consolidation process, elevating the business into a market-leading position. We aim to densify our existing networks to reach an additional 300,000 residential homes across the country over the next two years. The demand for high-bandwidth internet services, for the purposes of working from home, education and entertainment has reached a significant tipping point in South Africa and has been given dramatic impetus by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr Steve Booysen, MetroFibre CEO.

“Internet connectivity is a key driver of economic growth in South Africa, alongside increasing access to education, entertainment and many other social benefits. The Presidency has consistently called on all sectors of society to contribute to a technologically enabled future that brings about greater economic and social inclusion and enhances the competitiveness of the South African economy as we embrace the 4th Industrial revolution. Providing the infrastructure will be crucial to enabling our digital ascendancy and bringing the benefits of the 4IR to all sectors of our economy. As MetroFibre, we’re poised and committed to play a meaningful role in bringing quality, reliable access to South African homes and businesses across the country,” adds Booysen.

According to Craig Carthy, CEO of Link Africa, the sale of its Fibre-To-The-Home assets is part of the company’s strategy to focus its business on Fibre-To-The-Business and Fibre-To-The-Tower services.

As MetroFibre is an open-access provider, there will be virtually no effect on the services of the current FTTH subscribers on the Link Africa network as they will simply continue their relationship with their current Internet Service Provider (ISP) without interruption.

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 11 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 3.0 open access network.

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