Actis agrees sale of South African fibre operator Octotel

Actis agrees sale of South African fibre operator Octotel

Actis, a global investor in sustainable infrastructure, has signed an agreement to sell leading South African fibre network operator Octotel to a consortium of investors.

The consortium is led by African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) and also comprises STOA  a leading impact investor in infrastructure and energy, and Thebe Investment Corporation, a South African black-owned and black-managed investment management company.

The consortium is also acquiring a minority stake in internet service provider RSAWeb.

Actis says it invested in Octotel, a leading fibre network operator in the Western Cape of South Africa, in 2020 to capitalise on the growing demand for high-speed connectivity and the rapid rise in data consumption in the country. The firm’s investment strategy focused on expanding the number of homes passed with a fibre line and driving the take-up rate on the network.

This, says Actis, resulted in significant growth for the platform, with the number of homes passed with fibre rising from 195,000 at investment to 350,000 today, and the number of customers connected increasing from 56,000 to 110,000 over the same time period.

Under the ownership of Actis, Octotel also achieved significant sustainability milestones to drive positive environmental as well as social impact. These include providing free 1GB internet connections to more than 150 schools in the Western Cape, converting its fleet of vehicles to LPG hybrid vehicles to decarbonise transportation, and securing one of the first social loans in South Africa in recognition of the company’s work to promote digital inclusion.

This sale follows the recent announcement by Actis, reported here, that it is acquiring operator Telkom’s masts and towers business, Swiftnet.

AIIM, a division of Old Mutual Alternative Investments, is the largest shareholder in Metrofibre, another major fibre network operator in South Africa. STOA also holds a stake in Metrofibre.

Thebe chief investment officer Rapulane Mabelane is quoted as saying that with this transaction his company aims to play a part in expanding high-speed fibre networks into greater parts of the Western Cape.

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