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Italy's Enel renews deal with Cinven in Latam fiber grid Ufinet

By Reuters

MILAN -Italian utility Enel will remain a minority investor in Latin America’s Ufinet by renewing a partnership with private equity firm Cinven that will give it 19.5% of the broadband group.

Europe’s biggest utility, which currently owns 21% of Ufinet, had an option to buy out Cinven which it could exercise before the end of the year.

In a statement on Tuesday, Enel said it had agreed to buy out Cinven but would immediately sell 80.5% back to another fund managed by the private equity firm in order to renew the partnership.

Under the agreement, Enel X International will keep board representation in Ufinet, with a right to sell its stake under the same conditions as Cinven should the private equity firm opt to sell.

The deal, set to close in the first quarter of next year, is expected to generate net cash for Enel of around 60 million euros ($68 million) with a positive impact on operating results of about 200 million euros.

Ufinet, headquartered in Spain, manages some 80,000 km (50,000 miles) of optical fibre in 17 countries in Central and Latin America. Last year it had revenues of around $250 million.

Broadband networks are attracting interest from investors as customers use ever more data and TV services via mobile and home devices, a trend that accelerated during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Enel, which controls Spanish utility Endesa, has extensive energy operations in Latin America and has launched a financial services business in Colombia.

($1 = 0.8875 euros)