Isle of Man ISP Manx Acquired by Infrastructure Firm for £256m

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The mains fixed line and mobile telecoms operator for the Isle of Man (British Crown Dependency), Manx Telecom, has recommended that its shareholders accept a £255.9m offer from Basalt Infrastructure Partners II GP Limited to acquire the business. The move is likely to boost investment in their FTTP and 5G roll-out.

At the end of 2018 Manx reported Revenues of £81.5m (2017: £78.5m) and reported Profit Before Tax of £11.6m (2017: £11.9m), as well as an increase in net debt to £63.0m (2017: £56.9m). Some 99% of the island can already access their 4G mobile network, while 93% are within reach of their fixed line Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) based superfast broadband technology.

Back in 2017 Manx also announced that they were preparing to start the roll-out of a new 1Gbps capable “ultrafastFibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband network (here) and since then this has grown its coverage to reach 10% of premises, with early take-up of 13.5% and rising.

Apparently Basalt, which is an infrastructure investment firm, was attracted to Manx because of its “stable business, a proven financial and operational track record led by a strong management team, and the opportunity to continue investment in the new network build out and new business strategies.”

Kevin Walsh, Chairman of Manx Telecom, said:

“Since its IPO in 2014, Manx has performed well and delivered consistent returns for its shareholders through resilient earnings, strong cash generation and a growing dividend. Basalt’s cash offer recognises the quality of the business, the management team and the employees and provides certainty to shareholders.

After careful consideration and negotiation the Board concluded that it would unanimously recommend the offer as being in the best interests of shareholders, employees and other stakeholders.”

Steven Lowry, Partner of Basalt Infrastructure Partners LLP, said:

“We are pleased to announce Basalt’s board recommended offer for Manx, which provides cash certainty to shareholders. We are keen to support the company through its next phase of capital investment, which includes funding fibre to the premises, its commitment to Vannin Ventures and the future requirement of a 5G network roll out.

We look forward to working closely with Manx’s management team and employees realise their vision to continue to provide high quality services to customers and position the company for the future.”

The acquisition values Manx Telecom at 215p per share and is expected to complete in early May 2019.

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