Northleaf Capital Partners to acquire 40% interest in Aotearoa Towers Ltd

Tom Irvine, Managing Director at Northleaf

Northleaf Capital Partners (Northleaf), a private markets investment firm, announced that funds managed by Northleaf will acquire a 40% interest in Aotearoa Towers Limited (Aotearoa), a mobile tower infrastructure business, from Vodafone New Zealand Limited.

What are the terms of the transaction?

The completion of this transaction will create New Zealand’s largest independent tower company, with approximately 1,500 wholly-owned towers covering 98% of New Zealand’s population. The Company will benefit from a long-term revenue contract with Vodafone New Zealand, with an initial term of 20 years and the option for two 10-year extensions.

In addition, Vodafone New Zealand Limited has committed to building additional sites with the Company to meet its expected coverage and capacity requirements over the next ten years.

Northleaf will acquire its interest in the Company alongside InfraRed Capital Partners (InfraRed), on behalf of HICL Infrastructure PLC, which will also be acquiring a 40% interest. Existing investor Infratil Limited will maintain a 20% interest in the telecom company.

What were the executive’s thoughts on the transaction?

Commenting on the transaction, Tom Irvine, Managing Director at Northleaf said: “The Company is an excellent fit with Northleaf’s communications infrastructure investment strategy and our broader portfolio of mid-market infrastructure assets in select OECD countries. This deal provides our investors exposure to an attractive and growing sector.”

“We are excited to expand our digital infrastructure presence and to establish the largest independent tower company in New Zealand. Mobile connectivity is more vital than ever, with data growth expanding at rapid rates and remote work becoming more prevalent. Aotearoa provides infrastructure which will contribute positively to New Zealand society in the long run.”

What is infrastructure portfolio of Northleaf to date?

Completion of the deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and is anticipated to occur in the second half of 2022. Northleaf’s mid-market infrastructure portfolio includes 40 assets in select OECD countries. Northleaf has been an investor in ANZ since 2013 when it acquired Waterloo Wind Farm, an operational 131 MW facility located in South Australia.

Northleaf has invested in the Lal Lal Wind Farms project in Victoria, Australia and Quantem (formerly known as ANZ Terminals), a bulk liquid storage business with operations in Australia and New Zealand. Northleaf and InfraRed were advised by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Allens, Chapman Tripp, PwC, Altman Solon, Alvarez & Marsal, RPS, Colliers and Gallaghers.