Ecuador , Dominican Republic , Colombia , Bolivia and Mexico

Phoenix Tower betting on energy-as-a-service in LatAm diversification

Bnamericas Published: Friday, March 18, 2022
Phoenix Tower betting on energy-as-a-service in LatAm diversification

Tower infrastructure company Phoenix Tower International (PTI) is looking to offer energy-as-a-service solutions to companies and service providers in certain Latin American markets as part of a diversification of assets that also includes fiber, edge computing and distributed antenna systems (DAS).

“We’ve been doing some trials and even concrete projects mainly in the Caribbean, and we expect this portfolio to be very interesting for other markets, in South America and probably Central America,” Hermes Figueroa, PTI’s sales director for Latin America, told BNamericas.

Phoenix Tower also has around 1,400km of fiber optics in Mexico that it plans to expand to serve different service providers, as well as edge and DAS products for which interest is growing, Figueroa said.

PTI has started expanding its portfolio gradually in the region. “The status of the business right now in LatAm is probably different in other markets,” said the executive.

PTI has attracted significant interest from private investors particularly, in the last two years.

In 2021, Canadian pension fund CDPQ provided financing to Phoenix Tower International in a transaction that could total 775mn euros (US$854mn). More recently, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners announced in January the purchase of a 35% stake in PTI from Manulife Investment Management.

Through a different vehicle, Blackstone was an original investor in PTI in 2014, having sold its minority stake in 2018.

According to PTI’s executives, the new resources, particularly the return of Blackstone, beefs up PTI’s capital capabilities to continue its expansion in the Americas and in Europe.

“It’s nice to see that the original investor decided to come back and repurchased the minority share," Shylesh Moras, PTI’s senior VP of operations, told BNamericas 

"What changes for us is that the original fund was more of a private equity fund, whereas the new fund is Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, which is much larger and has a track record of investing in companies and staying with companies for a much larger period of time," he added.

PTI is targeting 300 new sites for its operations in 2022, according to Moras, senior VP of operations told BNamericas, a substantial amount of which is expected to be concentrated on its key Latin American markets. Historically, the region accounts for 95-99% of the new builds PTI has done, according to Moras. 

“It's a region where we're pretty active in the built-to-suit (BTS) market,” Moras said.

PTI has a large order of towers in place with Netherlands-based telecom group Altice, comprising 100 new sites in the Dominican Republic, and is also building sites for Telefónica in Colombia and NuevaTel, trading as Viva and controlled by Trilogy International, in Bolivia.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Florida, PTI operates over 14,000 cell towers across 18 countries. Close to 9,000 of these are in Latin America, according to the executives.

In the region, most of PTI's towers and related assets are in Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Bolivia. In the latter, in particular, the company claims to be the tower market leader in terms of number of sites.


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