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Connecting the UK with ultrafast broadband

05/06/2019

The closing of the capex loan syndication for CityFibre in the UK further enhances Societe Generale's go-to-bank credentials for fibre financing.

In the UK, only 4% of households have fibre-to-the-home connections, putting it far behind the rest of Europe, while having the highest per capita consumption of data in the region. This consumption of data is increasing exponentially and will only rise with the introduction of 5G.

A new project will support the introduction of networks to 1.5 million homes in the UK and expand CityFibre's coverage of 42 towns and cities, with the project serving businesses and public-sector sites as well as homes, allowing the implementation of 5G and Internet-of-Things technology to those in the Gigabit City Club.

Syndication of a £775 million capital expenditure loan for CityFibre closed in the first week of April, ensuring the completion of the largest debt package for fibre to home rollouts in the UK. The infrastructure debt package will support a £2.5 billion investment plan that will connect up to five million homes, a third of the UK government's target, by 2025. The package also includes a £45m revolving credit facility and a £300m accordion facility.

Societe Generale acted as global coordinator alongside six other financial institutions arranging and underwriting the facilities, a mandate that followed long-term pitching of the company and the sponsors.

Our credentials and the fact that our franchise has executed so many deals are due to our ability to offer structuring advice and guidance, as well as risk appetite. With the completion of the CityFibre deal, we have now been a lead on 20 fibre project finance deals in eight European countries, raising more than €11 billion of positive impact financing to support the deployment of more than 13.5 million ultrafast broadband lines and boosting local economies and employment

Jonathan Tweed,
Managing Director and Head of the Telecom, Media and Technology Finance team in London

Fibre has been a major theme for the bank in recent years.

The bank is proud of its go-to-bank status in fibre. With the completion of the CityFibre deal, we have now been a lead on 20 fibre project finance deals in eight European countries, raising more than €11 billion of positive impact financing to support the deployment of more than 13.5 million ultrafast broadband lines and boosting local economies and employment.

Benoît Tanguy,
Global co-head of TMT at Societe Generale

Further innovation comes in the bank's promotion of optic fibre as a new infrastructure asset class, while also getting project finance structuring and pricing.

The project finance and the TMT finance teams are very proud of this common approach and the fact that it has been enthusiastically welcomed in the rest of Europe as well as globally,

Hervé le Corre,
Global Head of infrastructure at the bank