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Stake sold in Scots telecoms firm

WIG backed for expansion through £186m 3i deal

Wireless Infrastructure Group - Aberdeen

WIG enabled Aberdeen to benefit from  the UK’s first fibre-connected small cell network

Wireless Infrastructure Group, the telecoms support services company, has received a £186m investment that will help it scale up and bid for a key contract.

3i Infrastructure, which bought a minority stake in the Bellshill-based company in April is acquiring the entire stake held by Barings, taking its holding to 91%.

It becomes WIG’s sole institutional shareholder alongside the management team.  Completion is expected early in 2018. 

The investment comes as WIG continues to install high capacity, 5G-ready wireless infrastructure including new communication towers serving rural communities together with small cells and fibre in busy urban centres.    

It is also hoping to win a contract to provide mobile connectivity for the London Underground.

In September, it launched the UK’s first 5G-ready, fibre-connected, outdoor small cell network in Aberdeen, working in partnership with Telefonica.

Speaking about the latest investment, Scott Coates, CEO of Wireless Infrastructure Group: “This is exactly the sort of patient capital we need to attract into expanding the UK’s digital infrastructure.

“WIG is busy investing in new infrastructure right across the UK, from new towers in the Highlands of Scotland to 5G-ready small cell networks that will connect self-driving cars in the West Midlands. 

“With 3i Infrastructure’s backing we can continue to scale-up the company and deliver new tower, fibre and small cell infrastructure to support our customers as 5G approaches.

“The transaction comes at an ideal time as we prepare our bid to deliver infrastructure that will enable mobile connectivity on the London Underground.”

Phil White, managing partner and head of infrastructure, 3i Investments, which acts as adviser to 3i Infrastructure, said: “This is an exciting time for WIG as customers expand coverage in rural areas and densify networks in urban and suburban areas.

“WIG’s management team has a clear vision for supporting its customers as they prepare for 5G and we look forward to backing them further through this next phase of growth.”

Matt Sandoval, managing director at Barings, said: “Barings’s five-year investment in WIG has been highly successful with the company doubling in scale, developing a leading position in small cells, expanding its capabilities and delivering great service to customers. 

“We’d like to thank the CEO, Scott Coates, and his management team for their efforts and passion for the business.  WIG is a genuine leader in European telecommunications infrastructure.  We wish Scott and the entire team well in their continuing partnership with 3i Infrastructure.”

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