Stanlib, New GX Investments to pump billions into township fibre

Khudu Pitje

Stanlib Asset Management and New GX Investments, the investment vehicle of businessman Khudu Pitje, have partnered to create a new investment company to deploy fibre infrastructure in South Africa’s townships.

The deal will result in the creation of a new digital infrastructure investment platform that will invest in fibre in underserved parts of the country as well as in telecommunications towers and data centres, Pitje told TechCentral in an interview on Tuesday.

New GX has operated in the telecommunications infrastructure sector for over 16 years through its co-controlling investment (with Remgro) in CIVH, which manages brands such as Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and Vumatel.

“Stanlib has invested over R2.4-billion in the Pitje family-controlled company, New GX, to accelerate the roll-out of digital access across the country. The parties intend to raise a further R7-billion of capital to create a R12-billion digital infrastructure platform,” the companies said in a statement to TechCentral on Tuesday.

“It (the new business) will take advantage of growth and investment opportunities across multiple asset classes and geographies, with particular emphasis on improving connectivity in underserved townships in South Africa and selected other African countries.”

The investment platform “will assist in rolling out and upgrading South Africa’s digital infrastructure, especially in townships, where it will have a tangible and sustainable impact on many South Africans”, said infrastructure investments principal at Stanlib Andy Louw. “Given our track record and the pipeline of opportunities that we have, we are confident that we will raise a further R7-billion of capital from South African and international investors in infrastructure, impact and ESG (environment, social and governance investing).”

‘Only the beginning’

Pitje added: “We estimate the market potential is close to three million homes in townships. This is only the beginning, as more people will be positively impacted by the bridging of the digital divide that was previously limited to the cities.”

New GX was a founding investor in DFA and is a co-controlling investor, with Remgro, in CIVH, where, directly and indirectly, it holds about 37% of the company. CIVH’s other major asset is Vumatel, the pioneering fibre-to-the-home operator. Pitje told TechCentral that New GX will remain invested in CIVH and that he sees significant further potential for growth in that business.

Last month, Invicta, a company chaired by billionaire Christo Wiese, agreed to pay R500-million to acquire Dartcom Group from the seller, Tuludi Capital, which is an investment vehicle managed by New GX Capital and Kgalauwane Properties. Invicta paid R50-million in cash, and the rest in shares, and Pitje said the company intends to remain invested through Invicta.  – © 2021 NewsCentral Media

Now read: Richard Came’s Platform Investment Partners exits CIVH

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