“Building resilient and sustainable infrastructure is critical for emerging market economies and a key driver of their post-Covid growth. We have a unique opportunity to put growth market economies on the path to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future, and counter digital exclusion. BlueOrchard is committed to seizing this opportunity and accompanying both growth markets and investors on this journey,” said Philipp Mueller, CEO of BlueOrchard.
CREI is integrated within the global telecom service group Two Thirty Three Holdings, which covers all aspects of the telecom tower value chain in emerging markets, from design to manufacturing, installation, and operations. The funding provided by BlueOrchard will support CREI in building 618 tower sites within the next 18 months. Each tower can serve on average 3’800 households, taking the project’s potential reach to 2.4 million households with better mobile phone connectivity within the next one and half years.
The Philippines is experiencing strong GDP and population growth rates, yet its network currently has some of the lowest connection speeds and quality in South East Asia. At the same time, the Philippines has a young, digitally savvy, growing population that is increasingly urban, driving demand for mobile data. The Philippines is characterized by high levels of poverty, a large gap between the rich, middle, and poor populations, and stark differences in smartphone and data usage with a strong urban-rural divide.
“The urgent need to develop sustainable infrastructure in the Philippines creates opportunities for impact and return on investment. The combination of a highly experienced management team, operational expertise, and significant local resources will prove to be invaluable in significantly driving improved data access, quality, affordability, reliability, and job creation for the local communities in the Philippines,” said Ashwin West, Head of Sustainable Infrastructure Investments at BlueOrchard.
CREI is one of the first players to be approved by the regulator to operate an outsourced towerco business in the Philippines and has been accredited by the two largest mobile network operators in the country. The investment by BlueOrchard is instrumental in accelerating the growth and enable further financing from investors such as leading development finance institutions. CREI targets continuous growth including deploying up to 2’000 telecom towers by 2024.
“Over the past decade our business has grown its presence across 22 emerging markets, carried out the construction of over 7’000 tower sites, and manages the operations of over 23’000 sites today. We are delighted to work with the team at BlueOrchard to create sustainable digital infrastructure for local communities in the Philippines that depend on connectivity for their livelihood, schooling, business, and social participation”, said Kadri Hakim, CEO of CREI Group.
Index-Asia Limited acted as the exclusive financial advisor of CREI for this transaction.
About CREI Group
Communication & Renewable Energy Infrastructure (“CREI”) is an established asset management company of a portfolio of telecom and renewable power assets across Africa and South-East Asia. CREI is part of a global telecom infrastructure group, TwoThirtyThree Group (“Group”), that also builds, supplies, manufactures and provides maintenance services for telecom towers and power infrastructure assets. The Group was founded in 2007 and is currently present in 23 countries across Africa and Asia, managing a portfolio of 23,000 sites and has built more than 7,000 sites. CREI’s main activities entail providing sustainable energy and reliable connectivity to Mobile Network Operators (“MNOs”) and rural communities across developing countries. With the expertise and synergies created through its Group, CREI covers an integrated approach and is identified as a one stop shop for the Operators and Investors. CREI manages a portfolio of Telecom ESCO, TowerCo and Network as a Service (NaaS) assets with the aim to help MNOs decrease their carbon footprint while increasing efficiently their network reach.
About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd
BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager and member of the Schroders Group. As a pioneering impact investor, the firm is dedicated to generating lasting positive impact for communities and the environment, while aiming at providing attractive returns to investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments worldwide. Today, the firm offers impact investment solutions across asset classes, connecting millions of entrepreneurs in emerging and frontier markets with investors with the aim to make impact investment solutions accessible to all and to advance the conscious use of capital. Being a professional investment manager and expert in innovative blended finance mandates, BlueOrchard has a sophisticated international investor base and is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. To date, BlueOrchard has invested over USD 9bn across more than 90 countries. Around 230 million poor and vulnerable people in emerging and frontier markets received access to financial and related services with the support of BlueOrchard as of December 2021. For additional information, please visit: www.blueorchard.com.
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