The EBRD has provided a $65 million loan to Datagroup, a leading national fibre infrastructure and digital services provider in Ukraine, to back the the acquisition of Volia, the country’s leading pay-TV and cable broadband service provider in the retail segment.
The aim of the acquisition is “to build a stronger, more competitive telecommunications operator with improved quality of service and an expanded product range,” the EBRD stated.
“We believe in the power of technology to bring about change for the better. Ukraine’s increasing digitalisation requires large-scale investments to expand coverage, accelerate speed and improve quality. Soon Ukrainian consumers will reap the benefits of Datagroup and Volia joining forces. The merged entity will invest in better infrastructure, innovation and excellent customer service, making it easier for all to connect with each other,” added Matteo Patrone, EBRD Managing Director, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
This merger also aims to create a “platform of sufficient scale” for Ukraine’s last-mile and national fibre infrastructure to “attract substantial capital investments,” including from foreign players, said Lenna Koszarny of Horizon Capital. This leading Ukrainian PE firm is the majority shareholder of Datagroup.
Datagroup has developed an an internship program with the EBRD to provide young women and men with training and employment opportunities.
The EBRD touts itself as the largest institutional investor in Ukraine. In the past two years alone, the Bank has committed €2 billion to the economy., including in the field of technology. One of the bank’s latest moves, in December 2020, was to support a broadband Internet provider from Kryvyi Rih (Krivoy Rog), to purchase new machinery.
The EBRD’s investments are “combined with support for policies that promote the fight against corruption, good governance of state-owned enterprises, structural reforms and a more transparent business environment.”