The Samoa National Provident Fund (‘SNPF’) together with the Unit Trust of Samoa (‘UTOS’) has executed a co-investment agreement for the funds to jointly invest in ATH International Ventures (ATHIV), a company registered in Singapore and is tasked with financing a new mobile broadband telecommunications network construction project in Papua New Guinea to be called Vodafone PNG.
ATHIV is a subsidiary of the ATH Group, the main provider of telecommunications services in Fiji and has recently expanded its regional footprint through the acquisition of telecommunication companies across the region including Vodafone Samoa, Vodafone Cook Islands, Vodafone Vanuatu, Vodafone Kiribati, and Bluesky American Samoa.
The execution of the co-investment by SNPF and UTOS follows the signing of the Subscription and Shareholder’s Agreement between ATH and the Asian Development Bank (‘ADB’) for this proposed project. ADB as the cornerstone investor in the project with its financial standing in the capital markets and inclusion of Pacific Island countries in its membership provides the opening for smaller institutional equity investors in the region acceding to this investment in ATHIV.
Registration of ATHIV in Singapore provides a strategic positioning of the investment vehicle for potential access to the ASEAN capital markets in the medium term.
The coming together of SNPF and UTOS to jointly invest allows for Samoa to access large scale lucrative investment opportunities that each fund may not necessarily be able to invest in alone due to their respective sizes relative to the larger players in the region. However, this initial joint investment will be the first of many more opportunities in which the Fund and the Trust can enter into together, subject to the achievement of their respective commercial objectives.
SNPF and UTOS will continue to explore a diverse range of asset classes, such as core economic infrastructure and property development, to enhance returns. To achieve this, having the right partners with the necessary expertise, technical and management capability and proven experience in infrastructure investment, who are also attuned to our SNPF and UTOS strategy of creating real value, was paramount. The common theme is our shared ability to identify and develop potential opportunities and mitigate risk, and our partnership with ADB and ATH Group, as seasoned investors with Telecommunications management expertise and technical know-how, is a testament to this.
This transaction saw like-minded long-term infrastructure investors with similar strategic approaches unite. Both parties are confident that this strategic investment opportunity with relatively strong regional operational and financial partners will enable an optimal return on investment for both the Fund contributors and the Trust unitholders.