Belgian telecoms group Proximus (PROX.BR) is studying options for its data center unit including a sale, as it seeks to capitalise on growing demand for key infrastructure assets across Europe, three people familiar with the matter said.
Proximus, with a market value of 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion), has drafted in bankers to work on the sale which could value the data center unit in the region of 300 million euros, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Proceeds from the sale could help Proximus fund investment in more core areas of its business, including 5G and fibre network rollouts, the first person added.
A Proximus spokesperson said in a emailed statement to Reuters it “regularly evaluates” its portfolio of assets including its data center unit.
“No definitive decisions have been taken today on the nature or scope of these further divestments,” the spokesperson added.
A sale process is expected to kick off later this year, targeting deep-pocketed infrastructure investors that seek to deploy capital in Europe, the people said, cautioning the plans may still be changed or dropped.
Proximus, whose largest shareholder is the Belgian government with a 53% stake, operates data centers in Brussels for corporates to host their IT systems and applications. In 2021, it signed a deal with India’s HCL Technologies to manage and upgrade its data center infrastructure.
The unit’s annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation is estimated to be 20 million euros, and it could fetch about 300 million euros, in the event of a sale, the second person said.
Europe has seen infrastructure investors compete for a slice of the continent’s largest data centre firms, partly because of their stable cash yield and long-term contracts.
In April, Brookfield Infrastructure acquired French data centre group Data4 in a deal said to have valued the company at close to 3.5 billion euros, including debt.
The owners of Spanish data center group Nabiax are exploring a sale of the group that could value it at close to 1 billion euros, Reuters reported this month.
As part of its strategy to grow international carrier services, Proximus is in advanced talks to buy French communications firm Tofane for about 100-150 million euros, according to the first person. In a potential deal, Proximus would combine Tofane with its international carrier business BICS, the person added.
The spokesperson for Proximus declined to comment on the deal but said it continually reviews investment opportunities and often talks to companies and managers to explore potential areas of investment in a mutual areas of interest. Tofane did not respond to requests for comment.
Proximus earlier this month acquired Indian cloud communication service provider Route Mobile Ltd. for 59.22 billion rupees ($721 million) to gain a foothold in high-growth markets. It is releasing its second quarter results on Friday. Reuters