Ufinet

Activity
Fibre operator
Transaction value
€510 million
Acquired
Aug 2014
Sector
TMT

Business
Ufinet (formerly 'GNFT') is a neutral telecom operator providing fibre infrastructure and transmission services to telecom operators in Spain and Latin America. Leveraging the infrastructure of utility networks, Ufinet offers dark optical fibre, capacity services, satellite services and colocation services to its customers.

Prior to its carve-out by Cinven, Ufinet was the telecom subsidiary of Gas Natural Fenosa, the largest integrated gas and electricity provider in Spain.

Ufinet has delivered strong operating and financial performance in recent years, with double digit organic revenue and EBITDA growth achieved from third party customers.

Rationale and Strategy
Cinven's TMT and Spanish teams worked closely together to identify the investment opportunity in Ufinet. In targeting an investment in Ufinet, the Cinven team drew upon its experience in successful cable investments such as Numericable and Ziggo as well as the more recent investment in hosting, HEG.

Cinven believes that Ufinet is an attractive investment opportunity on the basis of:

  • the company's unique network in the main metropolitan areas of Spain and the Latin American countries in which it operates;
  • its consistent organic growth track record and successful new market penetration;
  • the structural growth in data traffic and fibre networks in both Spain and Latin America, driven by increased usage and penetration of fixed and mobile broadband;
  • the significant growth opportunity in Latin America; and
  • the company's stable and strong cash flow generation in its Spanish market.

Ufinet is set to benefit from the growth in broadband, cloud computing, high speed fixed and mobile access and 'data explosion' globally. These are driving increased demand for broadband capacity and, as a result, greater investment in fibre optic networks. Neutral carriers like Ufinet are well positioned to capitalise on this increase in capacity demand. 

Cinven's previous telecoms experience, coupled with the expertise of Ufinet's experienced management team, led by Iňigo García del Cerro, position the company well to build on its strong business fundamentals and to realise the full market potential of the business through both growth in new markets and further market penetration.

Progress
Since Cinven’s investment, Ufinet has developed ‘lit’ services in cities, to provide wholesale ethernet connectivity in Spain and Latin America. The company has also expanded its network deployment by increasing the number of buildings, data centres, and mobile towers connected to its network and entering adjacent countries. It has also put in place a systematic buy and build function, which was initiated with the first add-on acquisition in the company’s history, of Reico, a telecoms provider in Costa Rica, in 2015. This was followed by the acquisition of the fibre network of Horarada, a Spanish regional fibre operator, in 2016.