Phl digital infrastructure gets boost with new partnership

Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group, has entered into a partnership with EdgeConneX, the pioneer in global hyperlocal to hyperscale data center solutions based in the United States. The joint venture aims to address the rising data usage in the Philippines by developing a data center platform that will house cloud service providers’ information technology equipment, enabling them to better support the Philippine market.

The initial data center will be located in proximity to the National Capital Region and a secondary hyperscale campus is planned to be located in the Greater Manila Area.

The partnership — which will pave the way for the development of hyperscale data centers across the Philippines — will leverage on ECX’ global data center platform, build and operational capabilities, and superior “hyperscale” customer relationships. This is complemented by AIC’s local expertise, assets, and infrastructure portfolio, including its 1,400 hectares of prime industrial real estate and its affiliate AboitizPower’s diversified renewable energy capacity, which the company aims to triple by 2030.

Hyperscale data centers are massive business-critical facilities designed to efficiently support robust, scalable applications of cloud service providers. AIC and ECX aim to provide world-class cooling and power infrastructure solutions to “hyperscalers” and other key customers.

“Businesses are increasingly turning to cloud service providers — or “hyperscalers” — for cost efficiency, flexibility, and scalability; and thus the need for data centers has never been more demanding. This trend will continue with certainty and speed, and our efforts to seize the opportunities it offers have been proven successful with this latest landmark infrastructure deal for the Aboitiz Group,” said Sabin Aboitiz, President and CEO of the Aboitiz Group.

AIC President and CEO Cosette Canilao explained that the partnership aims to help boost the country’s digital infrastructure ecosystem and serve the local market demand, highlighting the Philippines’ attractiveness for data centers. This focus on enabling digital capabilities also aligns well with the Aboitiz Group’s thrust to move forward through a “Great Transformation” to become the Philippines’ first “techglomerate” that provides life-essential services of the future.

“There is great excitement about the partnership and the incredible market opportunity the partnership enables,” said Canilao.

“The Philippines is an underserved market, and is witnessing high data demand growth relative to Southeast Asia. The market size, favorable demographics, and proliferation of subsea cables make the Philippines an ideal destination for data center investments. We also have access to prime real estate in major city centers such as Manila, as well as emerging economic hubs like Batangas. We’re thrilled to have a premier global data center partner in EdgeConneX,” she added.

“The Philippines is among the leaders in the use of digital media and digital service exports. Filipinos spend more than 9 hours on the internet every day, and the country’s information technology-business process management sector dominates the global market. With the prevalence of e-commerce and remote working, data usage is set to grow exponentially. Data centers enable cloud service providers and tech companies to serve these types of user needs.”

EdgeConneX provides a full range of sustainable data center solutions worldwide. The company works closely with customers, offering tailor-fit options in terms of location, scale, and type of facility.

“In AIC, we have the ideal partner in the Philippines,” Randy Brouckman, CEO of EdgeConneX. “They possess all of the local assets and expertise required to build out critical digital infrastructure that can best support our customers across the entire country. We look forward to investing in the digital economy of the Philippines and meeting our customers’ needs throughout the region. They complement our capabilities required to successfully capture this market opportunity.”

“Since being acquired by EQT Infrastructure in 2020, EdgeConneX has accelerated its presence in Asia after having identified the growing demand for hyperscale datacenters solutions to serve the surge in data usage. The Philippines marks the fourth country in Asia that EdgeConneX has entered, after successful entries into India, China, and Indonesia over the past two years,” said Kelvin Fong, Managing Director for EdgeConneX in Asia.

Last year, AIC entered the digital infrastructure space through a joint venture tower company called Unity Digital Infrastructure, Inc.

BofA Securities acted as exclusive financial advisor to, and SyCip Salazar Hernandez and Gatmaitan, Shearman & Sterling and TSMP as legal counsel for, AIC in this transaction.

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