Latin America: Blackstone vehicle acquires Caribbean telecom towers; secures new funding

05 October 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Phoenix Tower International secured USD 485m in new funding and acquired two portfolios of wireless assets in the Caribbean last week, according to recent company press releases.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based company, majority owned by the Blackstone Group, secured a USD 495m credit facility from a Scotiabank-led syndicate to fuel expansion plans. This included acquiring a wireless tower platform in the Dominican Republic from Dutch Altice Europe for USD 170m on 3 October and separately a Jamaican wireless tower portfolio from struggling Digicel for USD 90m.

The Dutch Altice Europe platform, Teletorres, consists of 1,039 wireless communications towers in the Dominican Republic. With this agreement, Phoenix signed a 20-year “master agreement” with Altice Dominicana, the release said. This deal brought Phoenix’s ownership of wireless towers in the country to 1,600 total. 

Advising Altice was BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs (financial) and Franklin and OMG (legal). Phoenix engaged Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP and OGC Abogados (legal) and Scotiabank (financial).

Phoenix also announced on 1 October that it acquired and leased-back 451 towers in Jamaica, from a subsidiary of Digicel. The price of the transaction was USD 90m. Jamaica is a new market for the company.    

For this transaction, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP and Harrison & Harrison (legal) and Scotiabank (financial) advised Phoenix. Digicel used Orrick and Nunes, Scholefield, DeLeon & Co. (legal) as advisors.

Separately, Phoenix also secured a new USD 485m credit facility to fund its expansion comprised of a USD 290m five-year senior secured term loan and a USD 195m delayed-draw facility. The credit facility was led by Scotiabank, and it had Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Santander, ING Capital, Natixis, Banco General, Orix Capital, and Towerbank as participants.

According to its website Phoenix owns and operates 3,500 sites, and it operates 974km of fiber optics in Latin America, the Caribbean and the US.

In July Blackstone announced that it sold a minority stake of the portfolio company to John Hancock, as previously reported.

In 2017 Phoenix acquired projects in Colombia and El Salvador, according to Inframation Deals. The El Salvador deal was also with Digicel, a company that is currently negotiating a bond exchange offer. According to Inframation’s sister publication Debtwire the new deadline for the bond exchange offer is 19 October, and in late September a group of bondholders with more than 60% of some of the bonds announced that it would not take the deal.

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