Airtrunk locks down AUD400m data centre funding

By Petroc Wilton

Datacentre challenger Airtrunk has successfully concluded a hefty capital raising of around $400 million that will get its planned flagship facilities in Sydney and Melbourne off the ground, with Goldman Sachs and TSSP providing the bulk of the new funds. CEO and founder Robin Khuda told CommsDay the amount would cover the considerable upfront capex required to get the two sites up and running.  As previously reported in CommsDay, Airtrunk will operate exclusively as a wholesale datacentre player, targeting rapid growth in the cloud market across the APAC region and looking to differentiate itself from competitors on reliability, scalability and cost efficiency; it is building first in Australia, having secured a key anchor tenant in the country.

Khuda – formerly an executive with NEXTDC – expects to spend upwards of $1.23 billion over the next 3-4 years to build a brace of new datacentres in Melbourne and Sydney, with further builds to follow in Singapore and Hong Kong.  Around A$350 million of that will have been spent by partway through this year, on land and other large capital expenses for the first two sites such as high-voltage power.  That’s why the new capital raising is critical.

By the middle of last year, Airtrunk had secured support from JP Morgan as its investment banker and a number of the bank’s global institutional fund manager clients. Now, GS and TSSP will come on board as major shareholders alongside Khuda. JP Morgan and Norton Rose Fulbright advised on the capital raising; co-debt advisors ING Bank and Tatixis have also committed a senior debt facility.   “I’m delighted to have completed this capital raising that will lay a solid platform in fulfilling our ambition in becoming the Asia-Pacific region’s leading data centre platform supporting large-scale enterprise and technology companies,” said Khuda.

“We had a strong level of interest in our fundraising process globally, but Goldman Sachs and TSSP stood out for their level of support, industry knowledge and commitment to the Airtrunk business over the long term.”  On the back of the capital raising announcement, Airtrunk is aiming to have the Sydney and Melbourne datacentres operational by the third quarter of this year, initially supporting more than 20MW of IT load – though that will only be a fraction of the 70MW and 50MW of capacity ultimately planned for Sydney and Melbourne respectively, making them two of the largest facilities in the region.

The firm has already secured its dedicated electricity infrastructure, providing a 132KV dual feed power supply in Sydney and 66KV dual feed in Melbourne.  The funds to meet the rest of Airtrunk’s forecast spend will come partly from revenues generated by foundation clients using the first 20MW, plus a mix of equity and or debt funding depending on shareholder preferences.


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