AustralianSuper has bought a 70% stake in Australian Tower Network (ATN) from Singapore-controlled Singtel for A$1.9bn (€1.2bn).

The deal values ATN, Australia’s largest independent tower company, at approximately A$2.3bn.

ATN currently controls more than 2,312 mobile network towers and rooftop sites around Australia.

Under the terms of the acquisition, ATN has entered into a 20-year contract with Singtel-owned telecommunications provider Optus. Optus has also committed to 565 development sites to be built over the next three years.

AustralianSuper’s head of infrastructure, Nik Kemp, said the investment was the first for the fund in digital infrastructure in Australia.

“ATN is a high-quality infrastructure asset that exhibits many of the characteristics we believe will drive long-term value creation – its scale and reach are difficult to replicate, and it has a high proportion of long-term contracted revenues.”

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO of Optus, Australia’s second-largest telecommunications provider, said the transaction unlocked significant value for the organisation.

“The sale of these assets positions Optus well for the future as it provides capital to support core business growth while importantly allowing us to maintain the competitive advantage of our network’s active elements, which continue to top independent reports on speed and quality of our network.”

Rosmarin said competition for the assets was strong among a “field of high-quality prospective buyers”. The transaction was done at a price equating to 28 times the towers’ earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and interest amortisation.

AustralianSuper outbid four shortlisted contenders – Canada’s Ontario Teachers’, Queensland Investment Corporation, Brookfield, and the Symphony consortium, which had the backing of several investors, including OMERS Infrastructure.

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