Leighton in talks to sell telco assets to Canadian fund

Leighton Holdings has entered into negotiations with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) to sell 70 per cent of its telco assets, which include Nextgen Networks, Metronode and Infoplex.

The sale is being made through Leighton Holdings’ Long Term Equities Division, with the sale price valuing 100 per cent of the company's telecommunications assets at $885 million.

OTPP was established in 1990 and has C$117.1 billion in net assets.

Hamish Tyrwhitt, Leighton Holdings’ chief executive officer, said the company’s strategy includes recycling capital of non-core assets, which includes some of its telco infrastructure assets.

“The proposed sale follows the completion of a detailed strategic review of those assets,” Tyrwhitt said in a statement to the ASX.

“We have worked through an extensive sale process, which elicited a range of interested parties.”

Tyrwhitt said Leighton would work with the OTPP to partner in the ownership of the assets and that the sale price would create value for Leighton Holdings’ shareholders.

“We remain absolutely committed to providing construction, maintenance and field services to the telecommunications market through our subsidiary brands Visionstream, Silcar (50 per cent owned by Thiess) and John Holland Communications,” Tyrwhitt said.

“The sale will enable us to continue to provide these services, which are core telecommunications competencies, to an active market that is continuing to provide numerous opportunities without having to wholly own the telecommunication assets.”

Leighton announced the sale of Nextgen Networks, Metronode and Infoplex in September last year.

Nextgen Networks owns an 18,000km fibre optic network in Australia; Metronode operates six data centres and is currently planning or constructing four more; and Infoplex sells private cloud and managed hosting services.

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