CSquared in R468-million fundraising as Google exits

Andile Ngcaba

Africa-focused telecommunications infrastructure provider CSquared Link Holdings said on Tuesday that it has raised US$25-million (R468-million) in new funding from investors including a funda managed by Andile Ngcaba’s Convergence Partners.

The new investment in CSquared by the Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund (CPDIF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Association’s “Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility” will result in a streamlining of CSquared’s ownership structure.

The money will be used to expand its carrier-neutral, open-access infrastructure across the continent and is the first tranche in a broader, $65-million (R1.2-billion) investment programme to finance CSquared’s expansion and growth. The CPDIF has simultaneously acquired the stake in CSquared previously held by Google.

“The new investment into the company will be used for network expansion as CSquared continues to drive digital infrastructure developments across its footprint and the broader African region,” the parties said in a statement.

CSquared, which is led by CEO Lanre Kolade, was launched as a project within Google in 2011 with the ambition of building metropolitan fibre-optic networks in sub-Saharan Africa as a carrier-neutral operator of shared infrastructure.

“The long-term vision for the company is to increase internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa and to reduce internet access costs by investing in infrastructure necessary to drive digital transformation in the region,” CSquared said in the statement.

In October 2017, to accelerate the scope and scale of the business, additional investors were brought in, namely, Mitsui & Co, Convergence Partners and the IFC. The business has a presence in Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo.

CSquared lands Equiano

“CSquared’s collaboration with Google in Togo was critical to delivering the first continental landing of the Equiano cable in Africa in March 2022, significantly transforming the affordability and availability of internet access in this previously underserved market.”

Convergence Partners chairman Andile Ngcaba said: “As investors in the company since 2017, we have had a front-row view of the tremendous impact of open-access networks on the development of the African ICT ecosystem. The combination of developmental impact, as well as strong commercial returns, makes this an attractive investment for the CPDIF…”

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FTI Capital Advisors DIFC acted as financial advisor to CSquared on the capital raise and concurrent sale of the stake in CSquared held by Google.  – © 2023 NewsCentral Media

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