Open-access fibre telecommunications specialist Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) said on Tuesday that it has raised more than R1,2bn in new debt funding, seemingly putting to rest speculation that it is for sale.
The new funding, worth a total of R1,2bn, follows the extension and increase to R1,1bn in December 2016 of its revolving credit facility. Standard Bank and Sanlam have joined DFA’s existing syndicate of long-term funders. Govanhill Capital arranged the finance.
In April, reports emerged that Remgro, which owns 51,9% of DFA, was in talks to sell DFA. Bloomberg reported at the time that Internet Solutions, a unit of Dimension Data, was interested in buying the company. But TechCentral understands from well-placed sources that no deal is on the cards.
DFA said the new debt facilities will be used to refinance a maturing term loan and to finance the continued expansion of DFA’s open-access metro fibre footprint nationwide.
In a statement, DFA chief financial officer Cilliers Steyn said: “Being a capital-intensive business, access to funding is vitally important and we are very pleased with the funding support as well as the commitment from our high-quality syndicate of lenders, especially in these current difficult capital market conditions.”
Steyn said the new loans, which have four- and five-year terms, “increase the maturity profile of DFA’s debt funding”.
The lender syndicate comprises a balance of banks, fund managers and financial companies. They are Absa, Futuregrowth Asset Management, Investec Asset Management, the KZN Growth Fund, Liberty Group, Rand Merchant Bank, Sanlam, Standard Bank and Stanlib Asset Management.
“The revolving credit facility was provided by DFA’s syndicate of banks, comprising Rand Merchant Bank, Absa and Standard Bank,” said Steyn.
DFA started rolling out its network in South African cities during October 2007 and has more than 10 000km of route fibre. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media