Vodafone New Zealand and its shareholders – Infratil and Brookfield - have sold their passive mobile tower assets for NZ$1.7bn (€1.4bn) to InfraRed Capital Partners and Northleaf Capital Partners.

Northleaf will acquire a 40% interest in Aotearoa Towers alongside InfraRed, on behalf of HICL Infrastructure, which will also be acquiring a 40% interest, with the trans-Tasman listed Infratil, managed by Morrison & Co, reinvesting for the remaining 20%.

The 1,484 mobile towers will be held in what is now called TowerCo. This will be the largest New Zealand tower business, covering over 98% of New Zealand’s population.

Infratil Chief Executive Jason Boyes said: “We have unlocked a significant portion of the value of our original equity invested in Vodafone, whilst retaining that investment in TowerCo.

Infratil and Brookfield each acquired a 49.95% stake in Vodafone NZ for NZ$1bn in May 2019.

Brookfield Infrastructure managing director Udhay Mathialagan said the latest deal released capital from the network when it made sense and conditions were supportive. This was achieved through targeted partnerships around infrastructure.

“This partnership will enhance site choices for wireless operators in New Zealand whilst supporting a strong return on our equity invested in Vodafone NZ three years ago,” he added.

Vodafone CEO Jason Paris said the outcome of the deal would further increase the coverage, capacity and speed of our network for its customers, making its smart network even smarter.

Morrison & Co’s CIO and global head of digital and connectivity, Will Smales, said: “What makes this an attractive Infratil asset is that while it has long-term, inflation-linked cashflows, it is also a platform with significant growth opportunities including macro tower growth, capacity for future co-tenancy, increased demand for new points of presence and step out opportunities such as small cells.”

To read the latest edition of the latest IPE Real Assets magazine click here.