Grain secures funding for next phase of fibre rollout

Grain has today announced a £75million equity investment from Equitix, one of Europe’s leading infrastructure investors, alongside Albion Capital, its existing institutional backer.

In addition to this equity funding, Grain has begun discussions with lenders in preparation for a £100m debt funding process.  The combined funding will support Grain’s plans to extend its footprint to cover an initial 300,000 homes and businesses across Great Britain, with a focus on both new-build housing developments and existing urban housing.

Grain is well known in the new-build housing sector as a partner to many of the country’s largest housebuilders, providing outstanding quality and service in bringing fibre-optic  internet access to their developments.  Grain works with developers in well over 100 locations across Great Britain.  At the same time, Grain has already begun to roll out full-fibre hyperfast broadband services to a number of towns and cities across the North of England and this programme will now accelerate across the country.

As well as bringing excellent fibre internet access to customers, Grain’s growth will generate substantial employment in both Carlisle and the regions where their network is deployed. Covid-19 has accentuated the demand for high-speed broadband and highlighted the importance of providing excellent connectivity for society as a whole. Grain is delighted to be playing its part in achieving this goal.

Sean Williams, Chairman, Grain

Grain’s Chairman, Sean Williams, said: “We are delighted to have secured such an excellent funding partner in Equitix, a leading investor in European infrastructure with a long-term investment strategy and clear vision for our business. The Grain team are already accelerating the build programme and are hugely excited about the opportunity to scale up the excellent national platform that we have already established.”

Equitix is a leading investor, developer and long-term fund manager of core infrastructure and renewable energy assets in the UK and Europe. Equitix has raised over £7 billion of equity, and is governed by seven senior investment professionals with more than 130 years of infrastructure investment and development experience between them.

Hugh Crossley, Chief Investment Officer for Equitix, said: “We are delighted to have agreed this investment into Grain. Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of data connectivity in which Grain is a leading provider. We fully support the management team’s initiatives to improve the scale and quality of their operations by investing in services and personnel, to ensure that they continue to provide best-in-class services to their customers and the local communities they serve.”

Albion Capital, through its Albion Real Assets Fund, first invested in the business in 2019 and has participated further in this round. Albion Capital is a leading independent investment manager with a long-term record of backing change and growth. The wider Albion Group has funds of around £850 million under investment management, expected commitment or administration.

David Gudgin from Albion Capital said: “Albion has built up extensive broadband experience across a number of fibre investments, and we think the Grain team is one of the best in the sector. We fully support the plan to grow Grain into a significant nationwide fibre provider over the next five years. Grain’s ability to provide fibre to greenfield developments and existing housing makes its business model unique amongst the new fibre providers.”

Grain’s founding shareholder Pinnacle Group will be retaining a significant proportion of its interest in Grain.

Cameron Barney, an independent merchant bank specialising in technology and infrastructure, acted as exclusive financial advisor to Grain in the fundraising.

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