Ardian’s first telecoms transaction is essential to future economic growth
01 July 2021
Giovanni Ferigo: Our new venture began in March 2020 when the European Commission cleared Telecom Italia and Vodafone to combine their Italian mobile tower networks, making Inwit the biggest tower company in Italy. The venture will allow Vodafone and TIM to release capital and accelerate the roll-out of their 5G services. We are very pleased that Ardian, one of the world’s leading private investors in infrastructure, is joining the project from the beginning. They are long-term investors, and I am confident that they will bring a lot of expertise and innovative thinking to our board.
~ 50 %
of the mobile network in Italy is runned by Inwit
sites across Italy
Rosario Mazza: Inwit runs 50% of the mobile network in Italy, so for us this is a highly strategic asset and obviously a landmark transaction that demonstrates our position in the Italian market. It was also complex to execute. We had to build a strong, trusting relationship with Telecom Italia, who has the controlling interest in our joint venture, and assemble a €1.4 billion equity investment by our shareholder consortium, including our fund and coinvestments by several of our LPs. Together we are now embarking on a new phase of investment in 5G technology.
GF: Telecom Italia and Vodafone’s 5G spectrum licenses require them to achieve coverage for 80% of the population by 2025 and we are supporting them in installing the technology to roll out their services. I think we will see their 5G offering partially launched in the second half of this year. My view is very strongly that success for 5G services will come in vertical sectors such as healthcare and transportation, where Inwit is very well positioned to give support from the technology point of view.
RM: We started work on this transaction well before Covid-19, but the pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of the economy and made digital infrastructure like Inwit’s tower network even more essential to future economic growth. This is why we believe up to a third of the EU’s Covid recovery plan is likely to be invested in digitization and
digital networks. Since Covid there’s been a huge increase in traffic on Inwit’s networks and they have proved to be very resilient, so this transaction gives us exposure to essential digital infrastructure with good visibility over cash flows as well as a powerful growth driver from digitization.
GF: I’m convinced that this deal will create excellent opportunities for us and will provide strong support as we execute our 2021-23 business plan.
We value Ardian’s contributions in all areas. They will bring us innovative thinking, not just in terms of financial issues, but also through their support for the process of becoming a fully sustainable business and reaching carbon neutrality by 2025.
We believe in sustainable businesses and economies, and obviously we want to accelerate that transition.
RM: Inwit’s carbon neutrality target is great for us – it’s right at the core of our strategy on climate change and environmental issues. So there’s a true alignment around this opportunity to create the infrastructure for the economy of the future.