HomeNewsEir to sell majority stake in emergency services network for €76m

    Eir to sell majority stake in emergency services network for €76m


    Buyer Digital 9 Infrastructure hopes to acquire Tetra Ireland in its entirety for a total of about €136 million

    The Irish Times reports that Eir has agreed to sell a majority stake in Tetra Ireland, a provider of secure communications to the Garda and emergency services, for €76 million.

    The buyer, Digital 9 Infrastructure, is new investment trust which last year acquired Aqua Comms, a company with headquarters in Dublin that operates a sub-sea transatlantic fibre-optic cable linking the US to Europe via the Republic of Ireland.

    Wants full control

    Digital 9 Infrastructure is to acquire a 56% stake in Tetra Ireland Communications Limited from Eir, and said it hopes to take full control of the company at a future date for a total consideration of up to €135.7 million.

    This depends on reaching agreement with the other shareholders, Sigma Networks and Motorola. Eir’s agreement to sell its stake to Digital 9 gives first refusal to the other shareholders. Sigma Networks and Motorola, which hold 25% and 19% respectively, have two weeks to decide whether to agree to the sale.

    Digital 9 Infrastructure, established last year, is run by Triple Point Investment Management, a London-based investment group that oversees more than £1.8 billion (€2.16 billion) of assets.

    Digital 9’s $215 million deal for Aqua Comms in March 2021 was the trust’s first and was soon after it listed its shares as part of a £400 million flotation in London. It also owns a data centre operator in Iceland and a sub-sea cable landing station in England.

    Overall Digital 9 Infrastructure has raised over £750 million since its initial public offering, with plans to raise a further £200 million via a new share placing by the end of this month, the Irish Times says.

    Tetra was commissioned to develop a purpose-build standalone digital radio network for use by emergency services and non-commercial public bodies after winning a competitive tender run by the state in 2006.

    About 97% Tetra’s customer base is public sector – around 70 agencies with some 24,000 active subscribers.

    Resilient coverage

    Users of the network include An Garda Síochána, the National Ambulance Service, Dublin Fire Brigade, Irish Coast Guard, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Irish Prison Service, Eirgrid, the Irish Naval Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Office of Public Works (OPW), Irish Water, and ESB Networks.

    The Tetra network was set up to provide greater security, resilience and redundancy than services offered by commercial mobile operators and guarantees 98 coverage of the Republic, including offshore, mountainous regions and other remote locations, including islands.

    The company successfully bid for a renewal of its contract in 2020 in a move that gave it a deal to provide its services for a further seven to nine years.