In 2019, EQT Infrastructure, part of the global private investment firm EQT headquartered in Sweden, acquired Melita Limited. The company is now leading the way in developing Malta’s digital infrastructure and the provision of best-in-class communication services. Three years on, Ulrich Köllensperger, Partner at EQT Infrastructure and Melita advisory board member, reflects on the motivations behind the acquisition, developments at Melita since, and the company’s plans for the future.
”EQT is very clear about its approach to investing in companies around the world. We have a track record of nearly three decades of acquiring good companies and actively helping them to become great and sustainable. This is exactly the approach we are taking with Melita and the results have been impressive”, says Köllensperger.
Speaking about EQT’s decision to buy Melita back in 2019, Köllensperger says, “In the 90s Melita was a pioneer in delivering cable TV to Malta, establishing itself as a leading domestic brand in what has become one of the most digitally connected countries in Europe. 2016 saw the arrival of Harald Rösch, who has been CEO since. Under Harald’s leadership, Melita has transformed itself, focusing on customer service and upgrading its network. By 2019, significant progress had been made and we at EQT decided to invest in Melita as it had proved itself to be a good company with significant further development potential. We were also drawn to Malta as a country with its impressive track record of economic growth and development, low unemployment rate, significant tourism industry, and a highly advanced communications and digital environment.”
When asked to highlight how EQT has helped Melita’s achievements over the past three years, Harald Rösch, CEO of Melita says, “A key area of growth has been the Business segment, where Melita Business is now serving many large and small enterprises, backed by the services offered at Malta’s largest and only purpose-built data centre. Melita has also joined forces with a number of companies that provide complimentary services, transforming Melita into an ideal one-stop-shop for all business connectivity requirements. From a customer service perspective Melita has continued to improve. Independent customer research shows that Melita’s customers have a very high level of satisfaction, when measured against international benchmarks. The fixed and mobile network is also world class. Melita continues to be one of the very few operators worldwide, and the only one in Europe, able to offer a 5G mobile network and a gigabit, fibre powered broadband service nationwide. This focus on combining top class customer service with strong infrastructure has served Melita well, enabling it to add both retail and business customers.”
“Melita has not only improved its performance over the past three years. It has also become increasingly focused on sustainability, catering to EQT’s strategic target of making a positive impact through every investment. This year Melita became the first EQT portfolio company to have its Science Based Targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative. This collaboration between the United Nations Global Compact, CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is designed to drive ambitious climate action in the private sector,” adds Harald Rösch. “Our efforts to become sustainable are also having a direct impact on our financial position. In fact, we have recently been able to convert an existing €20 million revolving credit facility into a sustainability linked credit facility. This means that the interest rate charged by lenders on this facility will be reduced, subject to Melita reaching specific sustainability targets. “This commitment to sustainability is matched by efforts to support the community; the Melita Foundation has invested €500,000 into the development of digital skills, the environment and Malta’s heritage.”
Looking ahead, EQT will continue supporting Melita in its ambitious plans for growth. Köllensperger provides further insight on the roadmap ahead: “Melita’s digital infrastructure is a cornerstone of its competitive advantage, and one which will be strengthened by continuously investing to drive fibre deeper into the fixed network. The 5G mobile and gigabit, fibre powered internet networks will remain vital in attracting foreign investment to Malta whilst creating the opportunity to develop new services. A clear example is melita.io, which offers nationwide 5G, Narrowband Internet-of-Things (NB-IoT) and LoRaWAN networks. Thanks to its broad set of roaming agreements, international partners, and experience melita.io has taken its IoT connectivity offering internationally. Building on the company’s strong IoT and fibre offerings is a key focus of Melita’s innovation and growth for EQT in the coming years.”
“At Melita, we have a great team, which has embraced our ambition to make Melita a great company; both in the products and services it delivers to customers and its impact on the wider community. While there’s always more to do, everyone at Melita can be proud of how far they have come and excited about what the future holds,” concludes Köllensperger.
More information about EQT can be found at www.eqtgroup.com