Eir has sold its majority stake in secure communication provider Tetra Ireland in a €76m deal with a recently established investment company.
The buyer, Digital 9 Infrastructure, has acquired a 56pc stake in Tetra Ireland from Eir and plans to take full control of the company at a later date for a total consideration of €135.7m. This depends on agreement from other shareholders Sigma Networks and Motorola, which have a 25pc and 19pc stake in the company.
Digital 9 Infrastructure was formed last year and is overseen by Triple Point Investment Management, a London-based investment group that oversees more than £1.8bn of assets.
Its first acquisition was of Aqua Comms, a Dublin-based company that specialises in subsea fibre-optic cable networks. Digital 9 purchased the company in March last year for $215m. It also owns a data centre operator in Iceland and a subsea cable landing station in England.
Digital 9 infrastructure plans to raise a further £200m by selling more shares at the end of the month. It has raised more than £750m since its initial public offering and has committed most of these funds to acquisitions.
Tetra Ireland operates the state’s National Digital Radio Service (NDRS) and has been the exclusive operator of public safety communication networks since it won a Government contract in 2006. The company bid for a renewal of this deal in 2020.
Tetra’s network provides a greater level of security, resilience, and redundancy than services offered by commercial mobile operators. Its platform promises 98pc geographic coverage including mountainous and remote rural locations, making it a useful communication network for Ireland’s emergency services.
Around 97pc of Tetra’s customer base is public bodies, comprising around 70 agencies with 24,000 active subscribers.
Tetra’s network users include An Garda Siochána, the National Ambulance Service, Dublin Fire Brigade, Irish Coast Guard, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, The Irish Prison Service, Eirgrid, the Irish Naval Service, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Office of Public Works (OPW), Irish Water and ESB Networks.
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