Gigaclear Secures £1.5bn Debt Facility to Boost Its Rural Roll-out
Dec 15, 2023
Gigaclear, the UK’s largest rural alternative network provider of full fibre broadband, has entered into a new debt facility of up to £1.5bn.
Since 2010, Gigaclear has been on a mission to take its full fibre broadband to underserved rural communities and its network currently extends to more than 500,000 premises across 26 counties.
The new debt facility is split between an upfront facility of c.£1bn and an uncommitted accordion of c.£500m. The facility is provided by a consortium of banks comprising ABN AMRO, Credit Industriel et Commercial, HSBC, Kommunalkredit, LBBW, Lloyds, NatWest, NAB, NIBC, and SEB. The UK Infrastructure Bank provided its guarantee product covering £240m of commitments.
The facility will be used to accelerate the telecom company’s long-term plans to provide service to more than a million rural premises by 2027.
Last month (November), Gigaclear was awarded two contracts, worth £26.5m, to connect around 10,000 hard-to-reach homes and businesses in rural Oxfordshire under the Government’s flagship £5 billion Project Gigabit programme.
Gigaclear was advised on the transaction by Rothschild & Co and Latham & Watkins, Clifford Chance acted as legal counsel to the lenders.
Gigaclear CEO Gareth Williams said: “By securing this debt funding, we’ve shown that despite high levels of volatility in the sector there remains an appetite among lenders to support fibre operators that can demonstrate a robust business model. Not only is it an endorsement of Gigaclear’s mission to take its full fibre broadband to underserved, rural communities across England but it is also reflection of the great things being achieved by the team at Gigaclear. Gigaclear’s resolve to reach more than one million premises by 2027 is supported by this announcement, which is nothing less than a vote of confidence in us successfully achieving our goal.”
Gigaclear is principally owned by Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Plc, together with Equitix and Railpen.
Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.