HICL Infrastructure PLC (“HICL”), the London-listed infrastructure investment company managed by InfraRed Capital Partners (“InfraRed”), has exchanged contracts to acquire a 40% equity interest in Aotearoa Towers Limited (“TowerCo”) a passive mobile tower infrastructure owner from Vodafone New Zealand Limited (“Vodafone NZ”) (the “Transaction”).
TowerCo will benefit from a long-term revenue contract with Vodafone NZ, with an initial term of 20-years and the option for two 10-year extensions. Vodafone NZ has committed to building additional sites to meet its expected coverage and capacity requirements over the next ten years.
This Transaction will create New Zealand’s largest independent tower company, with around 1,500 wholly owned towers covering 98% of New Zealand’s population. Mobile towers are critical infrastructure that underpin mobile connectivity and wireless broadband across New Zealand.
InfraRed has been investing in and managing assets in the region since 2009 and has operated a regional office in Sydney, Australia, since 2013. This investment is a strategic and highly attractive acquisition and represents the third investment in New Zealand from InfraRed-managed funds. The Transaction expands InfraRed’s investment activities in the region, supports its growth ambitions in the digital infrastructure sector and its commitment to continuing to invest in assets which connect communities and support the modern economy. This adds to InfraRed’s existing portfolio of assets in the region, including the Transmission Gully Motorway (NZ), Curtin University Student Accommodation Project (Aus), Royal Adelaide Hospital (Aus), and Lal Lal Wind Farms (Aus).
HICL’s investment is being made alongside Northleaf Capital Partners (“Northleaf”), which is also indirectly acquiring a 40% equity interest in TowerCo (the “Consortium”). InfraRed was supported on the acquisition of TowerCo by Russell Stanners, former long-term CEO of Vodafone NZ, as a senior adviser.
The Consortium also looks forward to working with Infratil Limited (“Infratil”), an existing Vodafone NZ shareholder, which will retain an indirect equity interest of 20% in TowerCo. HICL, Northleaf and Infratil together are well positioned to be a supportive and long-term partner for Vodafone NZ.
Sven Stubiçan, Head of Australia & New Zealand at InfraRed said:
“InfraRed is delighted to commence a long-term relationship with Vodafone NZ through this investment in the largest independent tower company in New Zealand. This acquisition is well aligned to InfraRed’s commitment to investing in essential infrastructure assets which contribute positively to society.
“This landmark transaction demonstrates InfraRed’s strong capabilities in the digital infrastructure space. As InfraRed’s third investment in New Zealand, this represents our ongoing strong commitment to the Australian and New Zealand markets, where we have been successfully investing for over 10 years.”
InfraRed and Northleaf were advised by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Allens, Chapman Tripp, PwC, Altman Solon, Alvarez & Marsal, RPS, Colliers, and Gallaghers.
About InfraRed Capital Partners
InfraRed Capital Partners is an international infrastructure investment manager, investing in real assets which contribute positively to society and support the transition to a net zero future. It operates worldwide from offices in London, New York, Sydney and Seoul. With around 170 professionals, it manages US$12bn+ of equity capital in multiple private and listed funds, primarily for institutional investors across the globe.
At InfraRed, a long-term, sustainability-led mindset is essential to delivering lasting success, and this mindset directs its assessment and management of the Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) aspects of its business. InfraRed has been a signatory of the Principles of Responsible Investment since 2011 and has been awarded triple A+ score in the 2020 review (relating to the 2019 assessment period). It is also a member of the Net Zero Asset Manager’s Initiative, a certified CarbonNeutral® company1 and is a TCFD supporter.
InfraRed is a part of SLC Management, the institutional alternatives and traditional asset management business of Sun Life. Over the past 30 years, InfraRed has established itself as a highly successful developer and custodian of core infrastructure, renewable energy and real estate assets that play a vital role in supporting sustainable communities.
1 In accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. Further information is available at https://carbonneutral.com/the-carbonneutral-protocol