Airwave sold to Macquarie

Telefónica has agreed the sale of a hundred per cent of Airwave to Macquarie, at a value of £1.9 billion.

May 3, 2007
By David Howell

Telefónica has agreed the sale of a hundred per cent of Airwave to Macquarie, at a value of £1.9 billion.

Airwave, the national secure digital communications network, has been rolled out to all forces in the UK and is currently used by over 170,000 officers. It is a vital part of the Critical National Infrastructure and contracts and partnership has been extended to the other blue light services including the Fire and Rescue Services across Great Britain, the English, Scottish and Welsh Ambulance Services, London Underground, Channel Tunnel Rail and other public safety agencies.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), who manages the police programme, and its Government partners overseeing the other public safety contracts are reassured by the sale. Macquarie already has experience in the public safety market, and a long track record of investment in critical infrastructure. The Macquarie business model commits to long term investments and provides additional capital to fund growth opportunities.

Macquarie also has vast experience in major infrastructure management projects and service provision. The business takes a long-term view of its investments and has specifically committed to retain ownership of the Airwave business for a minimum of ten years. Further, Macquarie is supporting the existing business plan, which includes continuing the strong growth of Airwave.

Chief Executive of the NPIA, Chief Constable Peter Neyroud said: “We have worked in partnership with other key Government customers and the suppliers and have been in continuous consultation throughout the negotiation process.

“However, the NPIA’s priority remains to ensure uninterrupted service for the police service that rely on Airwave for all their communication requirements. By taking a joined-up approach with the other emergency services we have ensured that the needs of all users are met. Through cross-agency working we will ensure HM Government and the public that their needs have been protected.

“We are confident that Macquarie meets the criteria set out by us which secures the maintenance and development of the communication infrastructure, commits to ongoing investment, offers a stable and focused management structure and looks to deliver long-term improvements to the system,” he said.

The NPIA are committed to working with Macquarie so that the change of ownership is seamless for those that use the service and where improvements to quality of service are required these are understood and progressed by the new owners.

Jim Craig, head of the Macquarie Bank Group in Europe, said: “Macquarie is investing in Airwave for the long-term – we have formally committed to this investment for a minimum of ten years and intend to remain for the longer term.

“For Airwave it will be business as usual. We look forward to working with the Airwave team, to continue to provide high quality, critical services to network users and to invest further in the business in accordance with the established business plan.”

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