GIC to acquire 30% stake in Czech telecom infra firm CETIN Group

Photo: Reuters

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte will acquire a 30% stake in European telecom network infrastructure provider CETIN Group, according to a statement.

CETIN Group’s telecom networks span the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia.

GIC is acquiring the stake from PPF Group, an investment group based in the Netherlands that oversees assets of 39.7 billion euros ($46 billion) with origins in the Czech Republic.

PPF will retain a 70% majority ownership, with the new minority shareholder to receive “appropriate representation” on CETIN’s board of directors. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bloomberg had in March reported that a deal could value CETIN at 6.7 billion euros ($7.76 billion).

“As a long-term investor, we are confident that the digital infrastructure sector will continue to grow robustly and CETIN, as the leading telecom platform in Central Eastern Europe, is well  positioned to capitalize on that growth,” said GIC’s infrastructure chief investment officer Ang Eng Seng in a statement.

CETIN Group was formed as a result of a separation of infrastructure business from O2 Czech Republic and three Telenor branded operators in Eastern Europe.

“Our partnership with GIC opens new possibilities for CETIN Group to draw upon the expertise of a leading global infrastructure fund and new prospects in our pursuit of business and growth opportunities in the telecommunications infrastructure market,” says CETIN Group CEO Juraj Šedivý.

The firms said the investment horizon and flexibility of GIC’s investment strategy are in sync with PPF and CETIN’s approach to creating shareholder value in the long term.

CETIN was assigned a first-time long-term issuer default rating (IDR) and senior unsecured rating of BBB with a stable outlook by Fitch Ratings last month. The global ratings agency projected a strong operating profile for the firm and anticipated “strong and steady revenue growth” over the next five years with a base case of 4% per year on average, excluding international transit services.

Fitch added that growth will be driven by the mobile segment mainly due to network advancements, 5G roll-out, site densification and higher co-location. Most of this growth will be secured through contracts that will drive EBITDA-margin growth.

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.