On 13 December 2021, Deutsche Glasfaser Group (”DGF” or the ”Company”) successfully signed a record debt financing package worth EUR5.75bn to fund its FTTH roll-out plans and to refinance its existing indebtedness. This new financing underscores DGF’s position in Germany as the FTTH frontrunner in rural Germany with its state-of-the-art roll-out machine and scale capabilities.
A consortium of ten Underwriters* and five Cornerstone Lenders** committed Senior Debt Facilities to DGF at attractive terms. CACIB and ING coordinated the refinancing as joint financial and sustainability advisors. The EUR5.75bn financing comprises a EUR3.0bn term loan, a capex facility of EUR2.5bn and a revolving credit facility of EUR250m. In addition, the Company secured an uncommited accordion credit facility of EUR1.5bn. The facilities include a sustainability-linked mechanism, whereby interest will be linked to 1) DGF´s success in reducing carbon emissions in line with science-based targets of the Paris agreement, 2) DGF´s commitment to overcome the digital divide by connecting underserved areas, contributing to the German government´s plan to provide a nation-wide fiber broadband infrastructure and 3) DGF continuing to be a socially responsible and attractive place to work.
Chief Financial Officer Jens Müller comments: ”This is by far the largest FTTH debt financing in Germany to date. We were overwhelmed by the huge investor demand as we faced a large oversubscription by banks and institutional debt investors.
The flexible infra-style financing allows us to continue our business plan as planned and to scale up our roll-out run-rate while at the same time improving our financial flexibility and reducing complexity as we can combine three credit pools into one.
Our accurate planning and efficient roll-out technology convinced lenders to support us in our scale ambition: we want to help to digitalize Germany, from local communities, to municipalities, across nearly all regions in Germany. So with the strong support of our equity sponsors EQT Infrastructure and OMERS, plus now the large debt financing in place, we are well equipped for our roll-out plans in the years to come.”
Already today, DGF is the clear FTTH leader in rural Germany and the number one when it comes to fiber expansion in underserved areas. The Company is fully committed to scaling up further and doubling its annual roll-out run-rate from nearly 400,000 homes passed today to about 800,000 p.a. by 2025. What differentiates DGF from other fiber players in Germany is a proven track record of rolling out successfully for now over 10 years, at scale and with attractive financial returns. The company´s newly secured financing is one of the key strategic pillars to propel DGF´s footprint to about 4m households by end of 2025, covering 10% of German households with its leading fiber infrastructure – up from 1.2 million households that the company covers today. The company´s long-term goal to cover around 6 million households in Germany remains unchanged. And while building own private networks DGF is still committed to other players joining its network on a wholesale basis.
CACIB and ING acted as financial and sustainability advisors to DGF on this financing while CliffordChance acted as legal advisor.
* Underwriters: ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole (CACIB), ING, KfW IPEX-Bank, Santander, SEB, Societé Générale, SMBC, Unicredit
** Cornerstone Lenders: Axa IM Alts, Generali Global Infrastructure, Kommunalkredit, LBBW, NAB
Deutsche Glasfaser Group is the leading fiber broadband provider in rural Germany. As a FTTH pioneer and industry leader, Deutsche Glasfaser plans, builds and operates open-access fiber networks for private households, businesses and public institutions. The company aims to roll-out fiber networks across the nation, thereby contributing significantly to Germany’s digital transformation. With innovative planning and construction methods, Deutsche Glasfaser is the technology leader for fast and cost-efficient FTTH deployment. Backed by experienced digital infrastructure investors EQT and OMERS, Deutsche Glasfaser is one of the financially strongest operators in the German market, with a planned total private-sector investment volume of EUR 7billion.