Published on 05 November 2021

Orange, La Banque des Territoires, CNP Assurances and EDF Invest officially launch Orange Concessions

Announced in January 2021, Orange Concessions, the new company 50% owned by Orange and 50% owned by a consortium made up of La Banque des Territoires (Caisse des Dépôts), CNP Assurances and EDF Invest, is now operational.

Orange Concessions comprises 24 Public Initiative Networks (PIN), under contract with local authorities, in Metropolitan France and overseas territories. These networks ultimately represent over 4.5 million households connected to fiber, making Orange Concessions the leading infrastructure operator in rural France.

Orange Concessions supports local authorities with their region's digital development: it orchestrates the design, construction and management of these fiber networks. It relies on Orange as a leading industrial partner with proven experience and expertise, and markets the networks to all internet service providers (ISP) to offer fiber to their end customers.

Orange Concessions' overriding ambition is to give everyone in rural areas access to fiber while sharing the investment effort with its shareholders, La Banque des Territoires, CNP Assurances and EDF Invest. By partnering with long-term investors, the company has all the means and resources required to consolidate its leadership as an infrastructure operator.

Orange Concessions will be managed by Jean-Germain Breton, who has a solid track-record managing public initiative telecoms networks and working alongside local authorities. As the Chairman of Orange Concessions, Jean-Germain Breton will focus on developing the business and creating values for the company’s shareholders. Orange Concessions will be supported by a team of over 100 women and men, 60% of whom will be located in the regions, close to the local authorities.

The commitment of La Banque des Territoires to this consortium and to Orange Concessions represents an important step as part of its mission to promote fiber connectivity in remote, sparsely populated regions of France.

This strategic partnership, which valued Orange Concessions at 2.675 billion euros, was finalized on 3 November. It demonstrates the value and relevance of Orange’s investments in fiber.

At the signing, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange said: "By 2025, 30% of FttH connections in rural areas of France will be operated by Orange Concessions. Over the past ten years, Orange has been the undisputed leader of this major infrastructure project in France. I am now delighted that long-term investors – recognized for their infrastructure expertise and their proximity to local authorities – have acquired a stake in Orange Concessions. Orange is more committed than ever to being the go-to partner for local authorities in their regional digital development projects."

Olivier Sichel, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Caisse des Dépôts and Managing Director of La Banque des Territoires said: "The target to reach 100% coverage by 2022 set-out in France’s Very High Speed Broadband plan requires the mobilization of everyone. By investing in Orange Concessions alongside CNP Assurances and EDF Invest, La Banque des Territoires continues to fight against regional exclusion, of which the digital divide is one possible cause. Not having access to the Internet is a barrier for everyone: for the general population, in the search for jobs, in the ability to maintain contact with their friends and families or even in having access to knowledge; or for companies wishing to set up in rural areas; or even for local authorities wishing to digitalize their services and thus make them more accessible to people, even the most isolated. This is why La Banque des Territoires provides loans or investment support to 80% of French departments for their Very High Speed Broadband  projects. Our effort of 1.8 billion euros will bring optical fiber to more than 12 million premises (homes and businesses) by 2025.”

Stéphane Dedeyan, Chief Executive Officer of CNP Assurances said: "As a responsible investor, CNP Assurances is pleased to support the development of Orange Concessions and thus provide its policyholders with the recurring and long-term returns offered by this type of infrastructure. In addition, in accordance with our raison d'être and alongside Orange and the members of the consortium, we intent to act for an inclusive and sustainable society and to participate fully in reducing the digital divide in rural France by providing fiber connectivity to the widest possible population."

Pierre Benoist d'Anthenay, Director of EDF Invest said: "This investment in a large-scale digital infrastructure marks a further step in EDF Invest's deployment and diversification strategy. In addition, we are very happy to form this partnership with Orange, a benchmark player in fiber in Europe, alongside the Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances.”

For more information about Orange Concessions, go to the website www.orangeconcessions.com

Ariane CHAN
05/11/2021 09:05 CET