Cellnex buys Hutchison’s European towers for € 10 billion and opens 5% of its shares to it

The payment to Hong Kongers includes 1,400 million in new shares of Cellnex, a Spanish telecommunications operator controlled by the Benetton family thanks to 13% of Edizione

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Cellnex has closed the largest operation in its history to add 30,000 sites to its telecommunications infrastructures in Europe. The Barcelona-based company has announced the purchase of 24,600 towers and connection points from Hutchison, to which it will add 5,250 new ones to be deployed in the next eight years.

The acquisition is estimated at 10,000 million euros, as expected in the sector. Of that total, 8,600 million are contributed in cash and 1,400 million correspond to new Cellnex shares, which represent a 5% stake in the capital stock.

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This 5% will not pass into the hands of Hutchison until all operations in the United Kingdom are completed, which is expected in early 2022. Thus, Cellnex will pay in cash at the close of operations in Sweden, Austria , Italy, Ireland and Denmark, but in addition to cash, new actions are enabled to fulfill the transaction in British lands. The entry of the Hong Kong group into the shareholding through the issuance of new shares will dilute current owners proportionally of the company.

At Cellnex (which once belonged to Abertis), the main shareholder today is Edizione, an investment vehicle for the Benetton family. Singapore sovereign wealth funds (GIC) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) own around 7% each. In addition, CriteriaCaixa has 4.7%; Wellington Management Group, with 4.2%; Blackrock, with 3.8%; and Norges Bank, with 3.5%, among other shareholders. The operator Hutchison would become Cellnex’s fourth largest shareholder if no further moves were made before the UK transaction is completed.

More than 100,000 sites

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With this agreement, Cellnex will be able to collect in total 103,000 infrastructure points across Europe, mainly towers. “The high density and capillarity of Cellnex’s site networks, now in 12 European markets and having crossed the threshold of 100,000 sites, it further highlights the differential added value of our company as a natural partner of all mobile operators in Europe to complement its capabilities in the deployment of 4G and accelerate that of 5G “, TobÃas MartÃnez, Cellnex CEO, has stated in an official note.

Cellnex is already positioned as the second largest neutral telecommunications infrastructure operator in Western territories, only behind American Tower and above other competitors such as Crown Castle and SBA, the German Deutsche Funkturm, the Italian Inwit and the British CTIL and MBNL.

At the end of the adjustments for all these purchases, Italy will be the country in which Cellnex accumulates the most infrastructures, more than 24,500 locations, above the United Kingdom (14,700), France (13,700), Poland (11,800) and Spain (11,000).

With the new operation, an additional ebitda is estimated for Cellnex of around 970 million euros, and 620 million more of free cash flow. The company’s sales would increase from 1,200 million euros to 3,800 million.

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