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EIB and Iliad sign a new €300m loan to finance FTTH network rollouts

With this new loan, which brings the total amount of financing provided to Iliad SA to more than €1.4 billion since 2009, the EIB is renewing its support for the Group in financing its fiber networks and assisting in the rollout of its latest generation mobile networks. This latest financial commitment follows an inaugural loan of PLN 470 million granted to Play in January 2022 to strengthen its ultra-fast mobile network.

Network expansion remains a key priority for Iliad. Each year in France, the Group invests an average of more than 30% of its revenues in this area, representing a cumulative amount of more than €7.6 billion over the last five years.

With this agreement, the Iliad Group, now Europe’s sixth-largest mobile operator with more than 45 million subscribers, has strengthened its position as France’s leading alternative fiber operator. With more than 3,800 employees working purely on fiber in France, the Group is a committed operator, working every day to support regional development and install optical fiber in homes, including in less densely populated and rural areas through Public Initiative Networks (PINs). Thanks to its investments, the Group now has 7 million fixed-line subscribers in France, including more than 4.5 million Fiber subscribers and more than 30 million connectible sockets.

“We are delighted about this new partnership with the EIB, which will enable us to pursue our ambitious rollout and densification objectives for our fixed networks in France. This financing operation, the sixth loan granted to Iliad SA since 2009, confirms the quality of the long-standing relationship between our Groups in France, and also in Poland via our subsidiary Play since the beginning of 2022. Providing the best connectivity for as many people as possible is a major challenge for society and key to ensuring regional competitiveness. Increasing access to fiber is also the best way to aim for more energy-efficient digital services,” said Thomas Reynaud, CEO of Iliad Group.

“With this new loan, the EIB is renewing its support for a very loyal partner that has established itself as a leading player in the rollout of fixed and mobile networks across France and Europe,” said EIB VicePresident Ambroise Fayolle. “This new investment will enable this European champion to accelerate its rollout of fiber and strengthen connectivity infrastructure, which has become just as essential as water and electricity supply networks. Supporting innovation has never been a greater priority for us, and improving access to ultra-fast broadband is essential to ensuring that our regions remain competitive and attractive to both businesses and local communities. As a public bank providing long-term financing for major European projects, it is our role to make an active contribution in this area.”

The EIB’s triple-A rating means that this loan comes with very attractive financial terms and a long maturity of up to six years, which is particularly suited to the length and nature of the investments. As the long-standing bank for financing infrastructure in the European Union, one of the EIB’s priorities is to invest in innovation and the digitization of the economy, in line with the European objective of improving ultra-fast connectivity for businesses and individuals.

CT Bureau

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