Phoenix Tower International to acquire Cellnex Ireland for nearly €1 bn 


Cellnex revealed late last year that its Irish unit was likely to be sold 

Florida-based wireless infrastructure company Phoenix Tower International (PTI) has announced a deal with Cellnex to acquire 100% of the latter’s Irish business for €971 million. 

Cellnex has been operating in Ireland since 2019, when it when it acquired tower operator Cignal as part of an agreement with CK Hutchinson to acquire its infrastructure portfolio in six European countries (which included Ireland). Since then, the number of towers Cellnex owns and operates in Ireland has grown to around 1,900 sites all of which will now be handed over to PTI. 

“The sale of our business in Ireland – at an appropriate valuation– is one further step within the company’s ‘Next Chapter’, in line with our strategy, to achieve the goal of consolidating, simplifying our corporate structure and focusing our efforts in the existing growth opportunities in the main markets in which we operate,” said Cellnex CEO Marco Patuano in a press release. 

Cellnex is on a mission to get its finances in order after its major M&A activities in recent years have left it  with a debt of €17.2 billion. 

This new focus was one of the main topics at Cellnex’s Capital Markets day in London this week, outlining its plans for the year ahead as the company switches its focus towards capital preservation. The company unveiled four new strategic pillars for their future organic expansion: 

Simple: Cellnex will undertake a strategic portfolio review to focus on core markets and divest from non-core business lines.
Focused: Towers will remain at the core of the business, but Cellnex will invest in selected business lines – DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), SCs (Small Cells) & RAN (Radio Access Network) as a service; and wholesale fibre, connectivity & housing services – aiming to grow these from 11% to 15% of total revenues by 2027.
Efficient: Cellnex will launch a comprehensive efficiency plan to improve the EBITDAaL margin by 500 basis points to 64% in 2027.
Responsible: Cellnex will continue to commit to its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles within its strategic framework.

The full Capital Markets Day details can be found here. 

For PTI, on the other hand, appears to be on the opposite trajectory, with this purchase the latest in a number of moves in the European tower sector.  

Back in September, PTI announced the acquisition of 2,000 cell sites in urban France, now making it the largest market of the 21 in which PTI operates. In 2020, the PTI also struck a deal with Bouygues Telecom to build and operate 4,000 new tower sites in France over the next 12 years. 

The closing of the deal is subject to standards regulatory approvals. 

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