WIOCC raises US$200m to expand connectivity and datacentre rollout
Wholesale network infrastructure firm WIOCC Holding Company Limited (“WIOCC”) has completed a US$200-million debt and equity capital raise which will be used to expand its connectivity within Africa and internationally, and through Open Access Data Centres (or “OADC”) - a newly created WIOCC Group company - to launch a network of pan-African datacentres optimised to serve the needs of the cloud provider and wholesale community.
In a statement released to the media, WIOCC said that in addition to introducing a strong new investor into the company, the capital will be used to support its expansion strategy across Africa and accelerate its investment in enhancing the continent’s digital infrastructure.
An excerpt from the statement reads: “Strategic investments in the new Equiano and 2Africa international subsea systems will augment and complement WIOCC’s existing core network infrastructure, cost-effectively adding multi-Terabits (Tbps) of capacity and significantly increasing its options for delivering the high-availability solutions demanded in markets across Africa. WIOCC’s terrestrial strategy, which includes deployment of metro and national networks in key locations, will be extended to include new countries and metropolitan areas, increasing its portfolio of end-to-end solutions for clients across Africa.”
The network infrastructure company added that part of the capital raise will be used in funding OADC, which is creating a transformational interconnected pan-African network of open-access, carrier-neutral datacentres.
First-phase locations will house key submarine cable landings in Lagos, Durban and Mogadishu, supporting the drive to land international submarine capacity directly into carrier-neutral datacentres.
According to the company, each will provide clients with bespoke colocation facilities and ultra-reliable, seamless connectivity directly into new international subsea systems, eliminating the costs and risks traditionally associated with terrestrial backhauling.
Construction and fit-out is underway in Lagos and Durban, with both to be launched early in 2022, whilst the Mogadishu datacentre will be ready before the end of 2022. Further phases of deployment will deliver more than 20 new datacentres in strategic locations throughout the continent, focusing on major connectivity hubs in each country.
WIOCC raised the equity capital from CAPE IV, a fund managed by leading Africa focused private equity fund manager, African Capital Alliance (ACA). ACA was attracted to the investment by the clear vision to develop high quality and synergistic assets and solutions to support its long-term client partnerships.
The investments will further position WIOCC to take advantage of the accelerating migration of infrastructure and services into the cloud, driving demand for data transmission, storage and processing in wholesale, enterprise and consumer end-markets in Africa, and bringing forward realisation of WIOCC’s vision to make an enduring contribution to Africa’s communications.
WIOCC’s debt facility was provided by the International Finance Corporation, Proparco and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund managed by Ninety One. Verdant Capital acted as financial advisor to WIOCC for the equity capital raise.
Commenting on the announcement, Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, said: “We are excited to conclude this stage of our capital raise, which will enable a very significant expansion of our hyperscale infrastructure through investment in new high-capacity subsea systems and terrestrial network. The creation of a new Group company – Open Access Data Centres – offering a transformational datacentre proposition to the market will underpin and accelerate the evolution of cloud ecosystems in Africa, delivering the low-latency, high-performance capabilities increasingly demanded in Africa’s markets. The inward investment and partnership with ACA will help us in enabling businesses and consumers in Africa to benefit from the digital economy and migration to cloud-based services. ACA’s track record and partnership mentality will be a welcome addition to WIOCC, and we very much look forward to working with them for long-term sustainable growth.”
Paul Kokoricha, Partner, ACA, added: “WIOCC is a fast-growing wholesale capacity provider in Africa that has positive market fundamentals given the rate at which internet penetration is growing and the desire for more OTT services. Our partnership with them will deliver their vision of being Africa’s leading carriers’ carrier, setting the standard by which performance is measured in the industry, through the delivery of robust and creative solutions for each client, with exceptional support, leading to successful long-term partnerships. We are impressed with the management team, and we are confident our partnership will deliver for all stakeholders.”