Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Structural Separation?: CAIW cable bought by Rabo real estate/infra fund and management

Interesting news. The Dutch cable company CAIW has been sold to its management and Bouwfonds Asset Management (Rabobank's real estate division). The commercial part has been sold to the management and the network has been sold to Bouwfonds. This sounds like a structural separation between the network and the commercial part, where the commercial part will rent hte lines from Bouwfonds and Bouwfonds sees this as a long term investment with fixed margins. It's not clear from the press release how the structural separation will be achieved, ie will Bouwfonds just own the passive cables or also part of the active infrastructure and/or will this be only be a legal separation and will the operation remain the exact same.

From what I can gather from the financial documents the sale price was around 190 million Euro for 150k subs or 135000 houses (110 million in net profit for the municipalities, but there was 83 million in long term debt), which would translate to about €1250 per sub. (Not Cheap! with a profit of 4.3 million) Unfortunately it is unclear to me how much was paid for the network and for the commercial part separately.

I still find it very interesting because this is a clear example that there is money in infrastructure and investment firms do like long term investments in network infrastructure. CAIW has also shown itself to be innovative and has already invested in fibre networks for both business and consumers (Naaldwijk)

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