OMERS Infrastructure has led consortium to buy a 49.99% stake in the fibre business of telecoms group Altice France for €1.8bn.

The $13.6bn infrastructure investment manager of the Canadian pension fund OMERS together with Allianz Capital Partners and AXA IM - Real Assets have agreed with Altice France to buy the minority stake in SFR FttH.

SFR FttH is a newly formed company by Altice France which will hold and further develop Altice France’s existing fibre to the home business (FttH) in France.

SFR FttH comprises the 5m FttH homes in medium and low density areas awarded to Altice France to date.

Philippe Busslinger, the head of Europe for OMERS Infrastructure said: “OMERS partnership with Altice France marks our entry into the attractive telecommunications sector and in the French market.

“We look forward to working together with Altice to deploy optic fibre infrastructure across French local communities. This partnership will ultimately enable high-speed fibre connectivity to millions of households in France.”

Ralph Berg, OMERS global head of infrastructure, said: “The partnership with Altice fits OMERS Infrastructure’s strategy of acquiring high quality infrastructure businesses that provide essential services, and generate steady cash flows to meet the long term pension commitments of the OMERS plan.”

Christian Fingerle, the chief investment officer at ACP said: “The fibre sector plays a vital role in developing France’s digital economy.

“We are very pleased to support its swift roll-out through our commitment to SFR FttH while delivering solid long-term, risk adjusted returns and further portfolio diversification for our customers.”

Mark Gilligan, the head of infrastructure equity at AXA IM - Real Assets, said: “SFR FttH falls squarely within our thesis that high speed internet delivered over optical fibre networks is a household essentiality for the economy of the future.

“We are therefore delighted to invest on behalf of our clients in this landmark digital infrastructure company alongside aligned long-term partners.”

Patrick Drahi, the founder of Altice, said: “With this transformational transaction and the various tower sales and partnerships announced earlier this year, Altice Europe has been able to crystallise €8bn of infrastructure value and obtain cash proceeds of €4bn in total in a few months.

”Through these transactions, Altice France and Altice Europe will deleverage and will have access to new and cheaper liquidity to invest in its fibre infrastructure.”