Orange to sell 50% of its fixed fiber venture in rural France

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Orange has active plans to sell a 50% stake, along with co-control, of its new fixed fiber venture Orange Concessions to La Banque des Territoires, part of France’s state-owned bank Caisse des Dépôts, insurer CNP Assurances and EDF Invest consortium.

Orange Concessions has been deploying fiber networks in rural France and is valued at EUR 2.675 billion. The deal, expected to close by the end of this year, includes a call option that will allow Orange to take control and consolidate Orange Concessions in the future.

First unveiled by in December 2019, the fixed fiber project was part of the carrier’s ‘Engage 2025’ five-year strategic plan, which states a commitment to things like net zero carbon by 2040 and digital equality.

Currently, the venture operates fixed fiber to the home (FTTH) infrastructure that includes 23 open access networks across rural France, with the footprint expected to surpass 4.5 million premises.

Orange has been working with French local authorities to deploy the infrastructure under public initiative contracts.

Stéphane Richard, chairman & CEO of Orange, said that the deal will allow the carrier “to pursue the development of fiber in rural areas by winning new public initiative networks or by participating in market consolidation.”

“I am delighted that Orange […] is now set to establish this partnership in its domestic market with recognized investors who share our vision of digital communication infrastructure development,” he said. “This is a key milestone in the delivery of our Engage 2025 strategic plan. As to its financial merits, the achieved valuation reveals the value of Orange’s investments in fiber as well as the relevance of such strategic move.”

At the end of last year, Orange’s Spain group sold off some more of its infrastructure in a deal with Cellnex that saw 1,500 telecommunications sites change hands.

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