abrdn's portfolio company, Wessex Internet Limited, secures additional £35M funding including Senior Debt Facility from Triodos Bank UK13 November 2023
Funding will support the expansion of UK Government subsidy contracts to roll out connectivity in rural areas of South West England
Wessex Internet Limited and its majority shareholder, abrdn’s third Infrastructure Fund, ASCI III, are delighted to announce the successful completion of the process securing an additional £35m funding in 2023 for the business’s long term growth plans. This includes additional funding from the Existing Shareholders and a senior term facility from Triodos Bank UK, an institution specialising in sustainable and positive-impact finance. This significant financial milestone will bolster Wessex Internet's mission to provide high-speed fibre to the home, and improved connectivity in rural areas of South West England.
Wessex Internet Limited, recognised for its commitment to bridging the digital divide, has been awarded BDUK subsidy contracts by the UK government. This funding will play a pivotal role in enabling Wessex Internet to fulfill these contracts efficiently and expedite the expansion of their fibre optic network.
The partnership with Triodos Bank is a testament to their shared vision of creating a more inclusive and digitally connected future for rural communities. With gigabit-capable broadband, households will enjoy improved bandwidth, businesses will be able to improve their productivity, and public services will become more accessible to people in remote areas.
Alex Anderson, Investment Director, abrdn Core Infrastructure, said:
“Since September 2022, we have worked alongside and supported Wessex Internet in expanding their network across rural parts of South West England and are delighted to extend the partnership to include Triodos. Securing this further capital investment is a huge testament to the endless energy of the team at Wessex Internet and their capability in managing and delivering networks in the hardest to reach areas, building on an impressive existing footprint and under a number of exclusive contracts. We look forward to seeing the business continue to grow, helping to drive productivity, connect communities and reduce the digital divide across the UK.”
Amandine Tetot, Head of Project Finance at Triodos Bank UK, said:
“Wessex Internet has proven its model and successfully installed high-speed internet connections to some of the most rural properties in Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset. We’re pleased to provide finance to accelerate its expansion and roll-out strategy, allowing more businesses and households to cross the digital divide. Promoting inclusion in society is a strategic priority for us and supporting broadband infrastructure enables more people to fully participate in an increasingly digital society.”
Hector Gibson Fleming, Wessex Internet CEO said:
“As company we remain committed to our vision to deliver full fibre broadband to underserved rural communities across the South West. This additional capital investment and senior debt facility enables us to continue to rapidly scale our operations and accelerate our roll out across Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. We are delighted to partner with Triodos, a bank that focusses on delivering positive change and shares our vision of removing the digital divide for our local communities.
Wessex Internet is an award-winning local and independent broadband provider that is delivering ultrafast full fibre broadband across Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, and South Somerset. Wessex Internet has been recognised by UK Fibre Awards as ‘UK Fibre Provider of the Year’ in 2023 and ‘Best Rural Provider’ category for the second year running in 2022 and 2023.
ASCI III is an Article 8 Infrastructure Fund under the EU’s Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and its strategy promotes environment and social characteristics including improved rural digital connectivity. ASCI III, invested in Wessex Internet in September 2022., and the business and its latest success further reinforces its role in supporting the Fund’s strategy and goals. abrdn is currently fundraising for the Fund which continues the strategy of investing in European small to mid-market infrastructure assets.
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Notes to editors
abrdn’s Infrastructure team has successfully raised and deployed two infrastructure funds totalling over €2.4 billion and is currently raising its third infrastructure fund, abrdn Core Infrastructure III. Fund III has raised c. £500 million to date.
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