Vodafone NZ Sells its Passive Mobile Tower Assets for $1.1 Billion

ByArlen Simpelo

Jul 22, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vodafone New Zealand (Vodafone NZ), together with shareholders Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management, announced the sale of Vodafone NZ’s passive mobile tower assets for NZ$1.7 billion (US$1.1 billion). As part of the transaction, Infratil will reinvest to hold 20% in the new TowerCo.

The new TowerCo business comprises 1,484 wholly owned mobile towers and will be the largest New Zealand towers business, covering over 98% of New Zealand’s population.

Under the terms of the deal, which is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and completion of certain reorganisation steps, the new TowerCo will enter into a 20-year master services agreement with Vodafone NZ (with extension rights) providing Vodafone NZ with access to both existing and new towers, and a commitment from TowerCo to build at least 390 additional sites over the next ten years to enhance Vodafone’s relative coverage and capacity position.

Vodafone NZ will continue to own the active parts of its network, including the radio access equipment and spectrum assets, maintaining an industry leading mobile coverage and network position.

The new TowerCo structure allows for separate and specialised ownership of the passive mobile towers, providing strong incentives to drive better capital efficiency, which will include increased co-location of equipment on common tower assets. This is essential as demand for data and connectivity continues to grow year on year, driving the importance of more intensified digital infrastructure to meet community needs. It will allow Vodafone to focus on its core strategic objectives, accelerating the roll out of active network technology.

Infratil Chief Executive Jason Boyes
We are delighted with this outcome, which highlights again why Vodafone is an excellent Infratil investment. We have unlocked a significant portion of the value of our original equity invested in Vodafone, whilst retaining that investment and a 20% stake in TowerCo. InfraRed Capital Partners and Northleaf Capital are high-calibre investors who share our vision for what the new TowerCo can deliver across New Zealand. The transaction is a win-win for Infratil shareholders.

Vodafone CEO Jason Paris
We’re pleased at the outcome of the process, which attracted significant interest. Infratil, InfraRed Capital Partners and Northleaf Capital are outstanding investors who share our vision for Aotearoa New Zealand and will help us to accelerate the roll out of critical infrastructure for our customers.