Infracapital agrees to acquire Northern Ireland fibre broadband provider Fibrus

CONNECTING COMMUNITIES: The Fibrus senior management team at the launch of its investment and roll out in Dundrum last year
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A FIBRE broadband provider launched in Northern Ireland just 18 months ago has been acquired by the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Plc.

Infracapital confirmed that is it taking a controlling interest in Fibrus - its first investment in the north - and will provide funding for the commercial roll-out.

Fibrus was established in September 2018 following a joint venture between telecoms entrepreneur Dominic Kearns of technology group b4b and former Enet chief executive Conal Henry.

Its initial remit was to improve connectivity in suburban and semi-rural towns currently suffering with low average broadband speeds, and its plan was to invest over £100 million in rolling out fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) to around 145,000 premises across Northern Ireland.

New owners Infracapital will draw on its experience of fibre roll-out in other areas of the UK and continental Europe, while Henry and Kearns will provide extensive local telecoms experience to drive the company forward as it expands into new areas.

The investment in Fibrus will come from Infracapital's greenfield strategy which seeks to build, deliver and operate essential greenfield infrastructure across Europe.

There is a growing need for new-build infrastructure, in particular fibre broadband, to meet the changing needs of society and support long term economic growth.

Conal Henry, who is currently chairman of Fibrus, said: “We're exceptionally proud to bring this investment to Northern Ireland.

“Alongside Infracapital, Fibrus now has the fire power to deliver, at scale and pace, our radical plan to transform the broadband landscape in the region.

“With this investment we will deliver the digital infrastructure that will transform our economy and our society.”

He added: “Fibrus is an organisation that is about being the best. We want to build the best networks, so we've recruited the best colleagues and partners and now we have attracted the best investors. This world class combination with Infracapital will achieve great things for a great many people.”

Andy Matthews, head of greenfield at Infracapital, added: “We're delighted to announce this acquisition and to play our role in delivering an increasingly essential service to society in tandem with delivering value to our investors.

“The investment is indicative of the significant opportunity to build, deliver and operate essential greenfield infrastructure across Europe, where we are seeing a number of opportunities to deploy further funds in the coming months and years.”

Infracapital's parent M&G manages the long-term savings of more than five million people, and total assets under its management are more than £350 billion.

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