- Amber Infrastructure (‘Amber') and Abrdn are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement in respect of the purchase by abrdn’s Core Infrastructure team of Amber’s minority stake in Airband (the ‘company’) (held via the Amber-managed National Digital Infrastructure Fund (‘NDIF’)) following Amber’s successful five-year investment hold in the business.
- Since Amber’s initial investment in 2018, Airband has transformed from a small rural-focused fixed-wireless access (‘FWA’) operator, to one of the largest Full Fibre rural networks in the country.
- Amber is proud of the milestones that Airband has achieved, supported by abrdn and its own investment, with the company now positioned for its next phase of exciting growth and commercialisation.
- Airband was abrdn’s first investment in the UK telecommunications infrastructure market through its second Core Infrastructure Fund, SLCI II, and the acquisition of Amber’s stake further demonstrates its commitment to a high quality and differentiated rural-only focused FTTP operator and its belief in the company’s near and long-term future.
- Airband’s network has now reached over 290k Homes Passed (of which 215k FTTP and 76k FWA) and has a compelling roll-out and commercialisation plan over the coming years. abrdn look forward to continue to support the company’s differentiated rural focus and highly attractive business plan, delivering Full Fibre to poorly served communities, supported by government subsidies.
- Airband has a target to reach c.400k FTTP premises by 2026, underpinned by existing and new government subsidies and associated infill build. This next phase of roll-out and continued commercialisation will be supported by an upcoming external fundraise process.
Ben Terry, Senior Asset Management Director, Amber Infrastructure, said:
“Since NDIF’s original investment in Airband in 2018, we’ve been delighted by the company’s success in its pivot towards Full Fibre, as demonstrated by its most recent achievement in reaching over 290k Homes Passed. Amber would like to thank abrdn for its support over the past 2.5 years and we wish the company every success over the coming years as it continues to bridge the digital divide in underserved rural communities across the West of England.”
Dominic Helmsley, Head of abrdn Core Infrastructure, said:
“Since our first investment into Airband in 2020, we have been impressed with the growth the business has achieved in delivering much-needed safe and reliable high-speed connectivity to local communities who have been underserved by others. That’s why we’re really excited to extend our commitment to Airband by announcing this strategic follow-on investment via our second Core Infrastructure fund. We thank Amber for their undivided support and invaluable contribution to supporting the growth of the business both before and during our joint ownership. Through Airband, we look forward to continuing to support further investment into the supply of ultrafast, reliable and cost-effective broadband in rural areas to help drive productivity, connect communities and reduce the digital divide across the UK.”
Founded in 2009, Airband is a leading alternative network provider focused on rural and hard-to-reach areas in the West of England. Originally a fixed wireless business, Airband identified the need for rural fibre and is now a scaled FTTP altnet, with a proven track record of deploying FTTP networks in hard-to-reach rural areas. Airband specifically targets areas with a high level of government support through BDUK contracts for coverage and vouchers awarded for connections, and has a proven expertise in navigating tender offers, with a c.70% win rate of BDUK subsidies to date. The platform today has passed c.215k FTTP premises (290k when including wireless premises) and has a target of building to c.400k FTTP premises over the next couple of years – this is in addition to the c.76k FWA premises that the company continues to commercialise.
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About Amber Infrastructure:
Amber Infrastructure (‘Amber’) is a specialist international investment manager, focused on investment origination, asset management and fund management. With over €5.5 billion in funds under management, Amber invests across eight funds and a number of managed accounts.
Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising, investing in and managing infrastructure assets across the public, transport, energy, digital and demographic infrastructure sectors that support the lives of people, homes and businesses internationally.
Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Amber employs approximately 180 infrastructure professionals globally and manages over 175 investments.
Amber continues to be a leading investor in UK fibre via its investments in toob and Community Fibre, alongside its broader digital investments, including its Greenergy and iSeek data centres.
abrdn is a global investment company that helps clients and customers plan, save and invest for the future. Our purpose is to enable our clients to be better investors.
abrdn manages and administers £500bn of assets for clients (as at 31 December 2022).
Our strategy is to deliver client-led growth. We are structured around three businesses – Investments, Adviser and Personal – focused on their changing needs.
The capabilities in our Investments business are built on the strength of our insight – generated from wide-ranging research, worldwide investment expertise and local market knowledge.
Our teams collaborate across regions, asset classes and specialisms, connecting diverse perspectives and working with clients to identify investment opportunities that suit their needs.
As at 31 December 2022, our Investments business manages £376bn on behalf of clients - including insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, independent wealth managers, pension funds, platforms, banks and family offices.