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Altice Europe creates continent’s first nationwide fibre wholesaler in Portugal

Altice Europe founder and majority-owner Patrick Drahi

Altice Europe’s Portugese subsidiary MEO has signed a deal with Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners to create what it says will be the first nationwide fibre wholesaler in Europe.

To facilitate the deal, MEO will sell a minority equity stake of 49.99% in Altice Portugal FTTH, based on a value of €4.63 billion. 

Altice Portugal FTTH is the largest FTTH wholesaler in the country and will reach approximately 4 million homes by the end of the year. It says it will sell wholesale services to all operators at the same financial terms, while MEO will sell technical services to Altice Portugal FTTH for construction, subscriber connection and maintenance of the network. 

Altice also said that this will be the only “true nationwide fibre wholesaler in Europe,” with this being the first time that an incumbent telecom operator will separate its fibre into its own dedicated wholesale business. 

Altice founder Patrick Drahi said: “I am very pleased that our partnership with Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, initiated in the context of our Portuguese tower transaction in 2018, now continues with a transformational fibre project. Following this transaction, Altice Europe has obtained cash proceeds in excess of €5.7 billion through the transformational SFR FTTH transaction and the various tower sales and partnerships announced in 2018. Altice’s portfolio of infrastructure assets continues to grow. 

“On a 100% proforma basis, SFR FTTH and our towers in France in addition to our fibre and towers in Portugal, already represent more than €0.8 billion of revenues and more than €0.5 billion of EBITDA, effectively constituting one of the largest telecom infrastructure groups in Europe. We continue to focus on deleveraging Altice Europe through growing revenues and EBITDA, supplemented with the disposal proceeds from this transaction.”

Drahi went on to say that the transaction will “accelerate the deleveraging of the Group towards its stated leverage target” and that it will “open the way to significant refinancing transactions in 2020.”