GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, today announced that it will acquire a 30% stake in CETIN Group, an owner and operator of towers and fiber, as well as data center points-of-presence, in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia. PPF Group, an investment firm founded by the late Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, is selling this 30% interest to GIC and will retain a majority 70% ownership in CETIN Group.

CETIN Group – PPF Sells Minority Stake to GIC

CETIN Group is an owner and operator of passive telecommunications infrastructure across the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries of the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia. The company was formed from the spin-off of O2 Czech Republic’s infrastructure business in 2015, as well as the acquisition, in 2018, of infrastructure from Telenor’s branded operators in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia.

CETIN Group is a subsidiary of PPF Telecom Group, which owns the service company operations of O2 Czech Republic and the former Telenor CEE business.

CETIN Group Operations Map

Below we breakdown the digital infrastructure that GIC is gaining overall exposure to via CETIN Group, which includes towers, fiber, and data center points-of-presence, with its largest market being the Czech Republic.

Towers

CETIN Group’s tower infrastructure comprises 11.2k sites, including 3.4k towers, which have 13.7k points-of-presence (PoPs), equating to a 1.22x tenancy ratio.

  • Czech Republic: CETIN owns ~4.2k sites and primarily competes with CRA and Vantage Towers
  • Bulgaria: CETIN owns 2.6k sites, with Bulgaria’s other towers captive via wireless carriers A1 (Telekom Austria) and Vivacom (United Group)
  • Hungary: CETIN owns 2.3k sites and primarily competes with Vantage Towers
  • Serbia: CETIN owns 2.1k sites, with Serbia’s other towers captive via wireless carriers mts (Telekom Srbija) and A1 (Telekom Austria)

In terms of the number of sites it operates, CETIN Group claims a market share of 34% in the Czech Republic, 32% in Bulgaria, 28% in Hungary, and 30% in Serbia.

Fiber / Fixed Networks

CETIN Group owns 43.3k route miles (69.7k route kilometers) of fiber optic cables. More broadly, through its fixed broadband network, the company passes 4.2 million Czech Republic households with various types of infrastructure.

Firstly, CETIN Group passes 3.9 million households with fiber-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) infrastructure. Secondly, the company passes 0.2 million households with ADSL technology. Thirdly, CETIN Group passes 105k households with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure. Overall, these fixed broadband networks cover 85% of all households in the Czech Republic.

Data Centers – Points-of-Presence (PoPs)

CETIN Group has points-of-presence (PoPs) at 36 data centers in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. Specifically, these facilities are located in major cities including Frankfurt, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; and Belgrade, Serbia; as well as sites in more regional locations. Collectively, CETIN Group’s data center presence spans 123k sqft (11.4k sqm) of floor space.

Customers

CETIN Group operates on a wholesale basis, offering all wireless carriers access to its digital infrastructure. For example, the company has wholesale contracts with customers including O2 Czech Republic, T-Mobile, Vodafone, and Nordic Telecom.

PPF Group – Overview

PPF Group operates in 25 countries, investing in sectors including financial services, telecommunications, media, biotechnology, real estate, and engineering. Overall, the group owns assets valued at €39.7bn and employs 94,000 people globally.

Adam Simmons is the Founder & CEO of Dgtl Infra. He started his career with an S&P 500-listed big box retailer, in an operations management role. Adam's entrepreneurial "itch" led him to start a 5G-driven company, focused on innovative retail solutions using augmented reality and shoppable videos, which was eventually sold to an advertising and consulting group. After, realizing the potential of 5G, Adam shifted his efforts towards investing in the "building blocks" of 5G - known as digital infrastructure, completing a number of strategic investments, buying cellular towers, data centers and fiber networks.

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