Natixis manages the first European project bond for digital infrastructure

Natixis lead managed on behalf ofAxione Infrastructures the first European project bond for digital infrastructure in France.

With this operation, Natixis supports France’s superfast broadband plan (France Très Haut Débit) launched in the spring of 2013 by the French government and, therefore, the economic development of the regions.

The success of the bond issue shows investor attraction for this new asset class. It also confirms Natixis’ leadership in advising and structuring infrastructure finance and its ability to set up innovative operations.


A first in infrastructure finance

This is the very first issue in France of project bonds, an innovative form of finance launched by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. It is also the first time that a project bond has been issued in Europe for digital infrastructure.

France’s superfast broadband plan (France Très Haut Débit) aims to speed up, by 2022, the mobilization of private capital for European infrastructure projects, in particular the roll-out of fiber optics in sparsely populated areas (public initiative areas).

The operation will provide Axione Infrastructures with €189.1 million in bond finance, enabling it to continue with and extend the roll-out of fast and superfast digital infrastructure throughout France.


Natixis, a key role in this digital infrastructure project bond

Acting as financial advisor, rating advisor and market access advisor for Axione, Natixis structured the operation and managed the rating process with Moody’s.

As sole bookrunner, lead manager, agent and account bank, Natixis arranged and successfully placed, with institutional investors, these project bonds, which aim at refunding Axione Infrastructures’ existing senior debt.

The success of the operation further confirms Natixis’ leadership in infrastructure finance advisory and structure and the placement and issue of project bonds. It also shows its ability to set up innovative operations.

It also opens up new opportunities in the infrastructure finance market. Its success should help to carry out more projects of the same type in the months and years to come.


Axione Infrastructures, a key player in digital development

In 2008, Axione Infrastructures established a digital infrastructure sharing industrial platform that is being used by all telecommunications operators to optimize their investments, thus providing the best possible services for businesses and individuals in the less densely populated regions.

55% of Axione Infrastructures is held by Caisse d’Epargne’s FIDEPPP fund - Fonds d’Investissement et de Développement des Partenariats Public-Privé, managed by Mirova, 30% by Caisse des Dépôts and 15% by Axione, a subsidiary of Bouygues Energies & Services.