Macquarie Capital is the majority shareholder in Spain’s independent fibre wholesale firm Onivia
Telefónica is selling part of its outdated copper phone and ADSL infrastructure to Macquarie for €200 million, reports the financial newspaper CincoDias.
The Spanish operator has been divesting itself of assets to pay off its mountain of debt over several years. Through this divestment, its debts have fallen from €36.7 billion at the end of 2019 to €22 billion last September.
Best big country fibre
Among Europe’s geographically large countries, Spain has highest fibre penetration with Telefónica providing fibre broadband to about 4.8 million premises.
The company plans to shut down its entire copper-based infrastructure by by 2025: at the end of September, Telefónica had 1.1 million ADSL lines still in use.
Last August, the operator announced the closure of 1,000 copper plants in the first half of this, which is equivalent to dismantling about 65,000 tons of copper.
CincoDias says the transaction with Macquarie has boosted this decommissioning and dismantling process.
In addition to being able to sell the copper, Telefónica also makes significant savings in energy consumption and operational efficiency with FTTH.
Macquarie, the Australian giant, is the largest shareholder of the wholesale operator Onivia, with a fiber network that reaches 2.1 million homes through a network of 8,400 km.
Macquarie will acquire Telefónica’s copper network directly, not through its subsidiary.
Onivia was created in 2020, when Macquarie Capital – as the majority shareholder – and Aberdeen Standard Investments bought part of the Spanish MásMóvil fibre network which reached 940,000 homes at the end of 2019.
Macquarie described Onivia as Spain’s first independent fibre network operator.
In May 2021, Japan’s Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure (DEI) became an investor in Onivia, which acquired a majority stake in a large rural FTTH network from MásMóvil for almost €400 million, doubling Onivia’s network coverage to 2.1 million homes, urban and rural.
Under the terms of this second transaction, MásMóvil is the network’s technological partner, responsible for deployments to new locations as well as the operation and management of the infrastructure it sold. MásMóvil also retains ownership of the relationship with existing customers.
Orange Spain is another anchor customer on the Onivia network.
The regional cable operators are owned by Vodafone or MásMóvil, and the latter acquired the Basque part of the Euskaltel cable network last August.