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Mid-Southern Bancorp, Inc. Reports Results Of Operations For The Third Quarter Of 2020

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SALEM, Ind., Oct. 26, 2020 — Mid-Southern Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ: MSVB), the holding company for Mid-Southern Savings Bank, FSB (the “Bank”), reported net income for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020 of $264,000 or $0.09 per diluted share compared to $105,000 or $0.03 per diluted share for the same period in 2019. For the nine months ended September 30, 2020, the Company reported net income of $991,000 or $0.31 per diluted share compared to $764,000 or $0.23 per diluted share for the same period in 2019.

In light of the recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company is continually assessing the effects of the pandemic to its employees, customers and communities. In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) was enacted. The CARES Act contains many provisions related to banking, lending, mortgage forbearance and taxation, and the Company supported its customers through the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), loan modifications and deferrals and fee waivers for early withdrawal of certificates of deposit due to hardship. The deadline for PPP loan applications was extended to August 8, 2020, and as of September 30, 2020, the Bank funded 29 PPP loans totaling $474,000. In addition, as of September 30, 2020, 89 loans totaling $18.6 million in outstanding principal had been modified for payment relief related to the pandemic.

While the ultimate impact of the crisis is difficult to predict, management believes the Company is well-capitalized and has the financial stability to continue to responsibly serve its customers and communities during this unprecedented time.

Income Statement Review

Net interest income after provision for loan losses decreased $177,000, or 10.1%, for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 to $1.6 million as compared to $1.8 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. Total interest income decreased $194,000, or 9.6%, when comparing the two periods, due to a decrease in the yield earned on interest-earning assets partially offset by an increase in the average balance of interest-earning assets. The average tax equivalent yield on interest-earning assets decreased to 3.68% for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 from 4.17% for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, due primarily to a decrease in market interest rates, driven by decreases in the targeted federal funds rate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The average balance of interest-earning assets increased to $208.4 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 from $199.1 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, due primarily to increases in investment securities, partially offset by decreases in loans receivable and cash and cash equivalents. Total interest expense decreased $41,000, or 15.4%, when comparing the two periods due to a decrease in the average cost of interest-bearing liabilities, partially offset by an increase in the average balance of interest-bearing liabilities. The average cost of interest-bearing liabilities decreased to 0.62% for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 from 0.76% for the same period in 2019. The average balance of interest-bearing liabilities increased to $145.2 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 from $140.3 million for the same period in 2019, due primarily to an increase in savings and interest-bearing demand deposit accounts, partially offset by a decrease in time deposits. As a result of the changes in interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, the interest rate spread decreased to 3.06% from 3.41% and the net interest margin decreased to 3.25% from 3.64% for the quarters ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Net interest income after provision for loan losses decreased $577,000, or 10.9%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 to $4.7 million as compared to $5.3 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2019. Total interest income decreased $401,000, or 6.7%, when comparing the two periods, due to a decrease in the yield earned on interest-bearing assets partially offset by an increase in the average balance of interest-earning assets. The average tax equivalent yield on interest-earning assets decreased to 3.78% for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 from 4.22% for the nine months ended September 30, 2019, due primarily to a decrease in market interest rates. The average balance of interest-earning assets increased to $204.7 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 from $193.3 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2019, due primarily to increases in cash and cash equivalents and investment securities, partially offset by a decrease in loans receivable. Total interest expense increased $80,000, or 12.2%, when comparing the two periods due to an increase in both the average balance and cost of interest-bearing liabilities. The average balance of interest-bearing liabilities increased to $142.1 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 from $133.5 million for the same period in 2019, due primarily to increases in both the average balance of Federal Home Loan Bank borrowings and the average balance of savings and interest-bearing demand deposit accounts, partially offset by a decrease in the average balance of time deposits. On June 27, 2019, the Company borrowed $10.0 million from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis which matures on June 27, 2024 and bears an interest rate of 1.73%. No further borrowings have been made. The average cost of interest-bearing liabilities increased to 0.69% for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 from 0.66% for the same period in 2019. As a result of the changes in interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, the interest rate spread decreased to 3.09% from 3.56% and the net interest margin decreased to 3.29% from 3.77% for the nine-month periods ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Noninterest income decreased $13,000, or 6.0%, for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019, due primarily to a decrease of $41,000 deposit account service charges, partially offset by increases of $8,000 and $21,000 in ATM and debit card fee income and other income, respectively.

Noninterest income increased $26,000, or 4.1%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019, due primarily to increases of $97,000 in net gain on sales of securities available for sale, $23,000 in ATM and debit card fee income and $35,000 in other income, partially offset by a $126,000 decrease in deposit account service charges.

Noninterest expense decreased $362,000, or 19.2%, for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. The decrease was due primarily to decreases in data processing expenses of $334,000, decreases in impairment loss on real estate held for sale of $67,000 and decreases in other expenses of $54,000, partially offset by an increase of $89,000 in compensation and benefits. Data processing expenses decreased due primarily to contract termination expenses recognized in the third quarter of last year related to the Bank’s core processing system conversion which was completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Noninterest expense decreased $768,000, or 15.1%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. The decrease was due primarily to decreases in data processing expenses of $728,000, decreases in impairment loss on real estate held for sale of $67,000, decreases in stockholders’ meeting expenses of $29,000, and other expenses of $110,000, partially offset by increases of $111,000 in compensation and benefits expense and $95,000 in directors’ compensation expense. Data processing expenses decreased due primarily to contract termination expenses recognized during the first nine months of 2019 related to the Bank’s core processing system conversion which was completed in the fourth quarter of 2019. The increase in directors’ compensation expense is due primarily to the recognition of $94,000 of stock compensation expense recognized for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, as compared to no stock compensation expense recognized for the same period in 2019.

The Company recorded an income tax benefit of $11,000 for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, compared to a benefit of $24,000 for the same period in 2019. Income tax expense for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 was $74,000 compared to $84,000 for the same period in 2019 resulting from a reduction in our effective tax rate to 6.9% for 2020 compared to 9.9% for 2019. The decrease in the effective tax rate is due largely to increased tax-exempt investment income proportionate to overall pre-tax income.

Balance Sheet Review

Total assets as of September 30, 2020 were $218.3 million compared to $208.4 million at December 31, 2019. Investment securities increased $21.3 million, partially offset by decreases of $8.0 million and $3.4 million in net loans receivable and cash and cash equivalents, respectively. Investment securities increased due primarily to the purchase of $30.6 million of available for sale securities and a $1.7 million increase in the unrealized gain on available for sale securities which were partially offset by the $4.5 million sale of available for sale securities and scheduled principal payments of mortgage-backed securities. The decrease in net loans was due primarily to decreases of $4.1 million in one-to-four family residential loans, $3.1 million in commercial real estate loans and $647,000 in multi-family residential loans. Total liabilities, comprised mostly of deposits, increased $11.8 million during the nine months ended September 30, 2020. The increase was due primarily to increases of $4.5 million and $7.0 million in noninterest-bearing deposits and interest-bearing deposits, respectively.

Credit Quality

Non-performing loans increased to $1.4 million at September 30, 2020 compared to $1.2 million at December 31, 2019, or 1.2% and 0.9% of total loans, respectively. At September 30, 2020, $1.1 million or 74.8% of non-performing loans were current on their loan payments. At September 30, 2020, non-performing troubled debt restructured loans totaled $387,000. There was no foreclosed real estate owned at either September 30, 2020 or December 31, 2019.

Based on management’s analysis of the allowance for loan losses, the Company recorded a $30,000 provision for loan losses for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, compared to a $6,000 provision for loan losses for the same period in 2019. The provision for the current quarter reflects expected credit losses based upon the conditions that existed as of September 30, 2020. The Company recognized net charge offs of $4,000 for the quarter ended September 30, 2020 compared to net charge offs of $6,000 for the same period in 2019.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2020, the Company recorded a $102,000 provision for loan losses compared to a $6,000 provision for loan losses for the same period in 2019. The Company recognized net charge-offs of $18,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 compared to net charge-offs of $22,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2019. The allowance for loan losses totaled $1.6 million, representing 1.4% of total loans at September 30, 2020, compared to $1.5 million and 1.2%, respectively at December 31, 2019. The allowance for loan losses represented 109.5% of non-performing loans at September 30, 2020, compared to 126.7% at December 31, 2019.

Capital

On May 23, 2018, the President signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act passed by Congress (the “Act”). The Act contains a number of provisions extending regulatory relief to banks and savings institutions and their holding companies. Effective January 1, 2020, a bank or savings institution that elects to use the Community Bank Leverage Ratio (“CBLR”) will generally be considered well-capitalized and to have met the risk-based and leverage capital requirements of the capital regulations if it has a leverage ratio greater than 9.0%. To be eligible to elect to use the CBLR, the bank or institution also must have total consolidated assets of less than $10 billion, off-balance sheet exposures of 25% or less of its total consolidated assets, and trading assets and trading liabilities of 5.0% or less of its total consolidated assets, all as of the end of the most recent quarter. The Bank elected to use the CBLR effective January 1, 2020.

At September 30, 2020, the Bank was considered well-capitalized under applicable federal regulatory capital guidelines with a CBLR of 17.7%.

The Company’s shareholders’ equity decreased to $48.8 million at September 30, 2020, from $50.8 million at December 31, 2019. The decrease was due primarily to the repurchase of 343,560 shares of our common stock at a total cost of $4.2 million or an average of $12.32 per share, partially offset by an increase in accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax, of $1.3 million due primarily to increases in the fair market value of available-for-sale investments and net income of $991,000, less dividends of $195,000. At September 30, 2020, a total of 129,300 shares remain available for future purchases under the current stock repurchase plan.

About Mid-Southern Bancorp, Inc.

Mid-Southern Savings Bank, FSB is a federally chartered savings bank headquartered in Salem, Indiana, approximately 40 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. The Bank conducts business from its main office in Salem and through its branch offices located in Mitchell and Orleans, Indiana and a loan production office located in New Albany, Indiana.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods, or by the use of forward looking terminology, such as “estimate,” “project,” “believe,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “seek,” “expect,” “will,” “may,” “continue,” or similar terms or variations on those terms, or the negative of those terms. Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results include the effect of the COVID‑19 pandemic, including on the Company’s credit quality and business operations, as well as its impact on general economic and financial market conditions and other uncertainties resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic, such as the extent and duration of the impact on public health, the U.S. and global economies, and consumer and corporate customers, including economic activity, employment levels and market liquidity; increased competitive pressures; changes in the interest rate environment; general economic conditions or conditions within the securities markets; and legislative and regulatory changes affecting financial institutions, including regulatory compliance costs and capital requirements that could adversely affect the business in which the Company and the Bank are engaged; and other factors described in the Company’s latest Annual Report on Form 10‑K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10‑Q and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that are available on our website at mid-southern.com and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

The factors listed above could materially affect the Company’s financial performance and could cause the Company’s actual results for future periods to differ materially from any opinions or statements expressed with respect to future periods in any current statements.

Except as required by applicable law, the Company does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions which may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind these risks and uncertainties. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement, which speaks only as of the date made.

MID-SOUTHERN BANCORP, INC. CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands, except per share information)

    Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended
    September 30,   September 30,
OPERATING DATA      2020        2019        2020      2019
                         
Total interest income   $  1,833     $  2,027     $  5,577   $  5,978
Total interest expense      226        267        738      658
Net interest income      1,607        1,760        4,839      5,320
Provision for loan losses      30        6        102      6
Net interest income after provision for loan losses      1,577        1,754        4,737      5,314
Total non-interest income      202        215        657      631
Total non-interest expense      1,526        1,888        4,329      5,097
Income before income taxes      253        81        1,065      848
Income tax expense (benefit)      (11 )      (24 )      74      84
Net income   $  264     $  105     $  991   $  764
                         
Net income per share attributable to common shareholders:                            
Basic   $  0.09     $  0.03     $  0.31   $  0.23
Diluted   $  0.09     $  0.03     $  0.31   $  0.23
                         
Weighted average common shares outstanding:                            
Basic      3,106,371        3,364,526        3,237,533      3,366,472
Diluted      3,110,316        3,365,925        3,239,657      3,367,881
           
  September 30,   December 31,
BALANCE SHEET INFORMATION 2020      2019
           
Cash and cash equivalents $ 15,464   $ 18,817
Investment securities   79,744     58,459
Loans, net   115,267     123,272
Interest-earning assets   210,891     201,247
Total assets   218,281     208,436
Deposits   158,508     146,969
Borrowings   10,000     10,000
Stockholders’ equity   48,846     50,813
Book value per share (1)   15.20     14.28
Tangible book value per share (2)   15.20     14.28
Non-performing assets:          
Nonaccrual loans   1,445     1,182
Accruing loans past due 90 days or more      
Foreclosed real estate      
Troubled debt restructurings on accrual status   1,058     1,305
           

OTHER FINANCIAL DATA

                           
    Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended  
    September 30,   September 30,  
Performance ratios:      2020      2019      2020      2019  
                           
Cash dividends per share   $ 0.02   $ 0.02   $ 0.06   $ 0.06  
Return on average assets (annualized)     0.48 %   0.20 %   0.62 %   0.51 %
Return on average stockholders’ equity (annualized)     2.09 %   0.83 %   2.60 %   2.05 %
Net interest margin     3.25 %   3.64 %   3.29 %   3.77 %
Interest rate spread     3.06 %   3.41 %   3.09 %   3.56 %
Efficiency ratio     84.4 %   95.6 %   78.8 %   85.6 %
Average interest-earning assets to average interest-bearing liabilities     143.6 %   141.9 %   144.1 %   144.8 %
Average stockholders’ equity to average assets     23.1 %   24.1 %   23.8 %   24.8 %
Stockholders’ equity to total assets at end of period                 22.4 %   24.3 %
         
  September 30,   December 31,  
Capital ratios: (3) 2020      2019  
         
Community Bank Leverage Ratio 17.7 % N/A  
Total risk-based capital (to risk-weighted assets) N/A   33.4 %
Tier 1 core capital (to risk-weighted assets) N/A   32.2 %
Common equity Tier 1 (to risk-weighted assets) N/A   32.2 %
Tier 1 leverage (to average adjusted total assets) N/A   17.9 %
         
  September 30,   December 31,  
Asset quality ratios: 2020   2019  
         
Allowance for loan losses as a percent of total loans 1.4 % 1.2 %
Allowance for loan losses as percent of non-performing loans 109.5 % 126.7 %
Net charge-offs to average outstanding loans during the period 0.0 % 0.0 %
Non-performing loans as a percent of total loans 1.2 % 0.9 %
Non-performing assets as a percent of total assets 0.7 % 0.6 %

(1) -We calculate book value per share as total stockholders’ equity at the end of the relevant period divided by the outstanding number of our common shares at the end of each period.

(2) – Tangible book value per share is a non-GAAP financial measure. We calculate tangible book value per share as total stockholders’ equity at the end of the relevant period, less goodwill and other intangible assets, divided by the outstanding number of our common shares at the end of each period. The most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is book value per share. We had no goodwill or other intangible assets as of any of the dates indicated. As a result, tangible book value per share is the same as book value per share as of each of the dates indicated. We provide the tangible book value per share in addition to those defined by banking regulators because of its widespread use by investors as a means to evaluate capital adequacy.

(3) – Effective January 1, 2020, the Bank elected to use the CBLR, as provided by the Act.  The Act contains a number of provisions extending regulatory relief to banks and savings institutions and their holding companies.  A bank or savings institution that elects to use the CBLR will generally be considered well-capitalized and to have met the risk-based and leverage capital requirements of the capital regulations if it has a leverage ratio greater than 9.0%.  As a result of this election as of January 1, 2020, a comparative ratio to December 31, 2019 is not available.

Contact: Alexander G. Babey, President and Chief Executive Officer Robert W. DeRossett, Chief Financial Officer Mid-Southern Bancorp, Inc. 812 883 2639

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Manuela Baroncini joins Swiss Re Corporate Solutions as Global Head Engineering & Construction

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ZURICH, Nov. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Swiss Re Corporate Solutions appoints Manuela Baroncini as Global Head Engineering & Construction (E&C), effective 1 March 2021. In this role, Ms. Baroncini will be responsible for driving the success of the E&C portfolio, maintaining a profitable book of business and leading a global team of underwriting experts. Based in London and reporting to Martin Hegelbach, Head Property & Specialty, Ms. Baroncini succeeds Guido Benz, who will join Aon at the end of December after 13 years with Swiss Re.

Construction site (PRNewsFoto/Swiss Re Corporate Solutions)

“It is great to welcome someone of Manuela's calibre and technical expertise back to Corporate Solutions. She is a highly energetic, experienced industry leader who understands the needs of our customers. She is also highly engaged with the broking community and truly understands the market,” said Mr. Hegelbach. “Over the past several years, Manuela has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience by profitably managing large portfolios of business. I look forward to working with her as she leads our next phase of development in this key sector.”

Mr. Hegelbach continued, “We wish Guido great success in his new role. He has been instrumental in building up our E&C book of business and expanding our product offering. We are sad to see him leave but look forward to continuing the relationship as he will remain active in the insurance market.”

Ms. Baroncini brings almost 20 years of construction insurance experience to this role, most recently as Head of Construction UK for a large commercial insurer. In this role, she was responsible for providing construction risk transfer solutions for domestic and multinational risks to help make customers in the UK and around the globe more resilient. She previously worked for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions between 2002 and 2015 in roles of increasing seniority within the E&C team.

Ms. Baroncini holds a Fellowship Post Degree in Material Science from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. She is an executive member at the London Engineering Group and a Chartered member of the Italian Institution of Engineers.

The Swiss Re Corporate Solutions E&C team insures a wide range of risks across different sectors including renewable energy, construction, infrastructure, power and utilities, heavy industries and mining.

About Swiss Re Corporate Solutions
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions provides risk transfer solutions to large and mid-sized corporations around the world. Its innovative, highly customised products and standard insurance covers help to make businesses more resilient, while its industry-leading claims service provides additional peace of mind. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions serves clients from offices worldwide and is backed by the financial strength of the Swiss Re Group. Visit corporatesolutions.swissre.com or follow us on linkedin.com/company/swiss-re-corporate-solutions and Twitter @SwissRe_CS.

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Ultimaker appoints Jürgen von Hollen as Chief Executive Officer

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Jos Burger advances to Supervisory Board

UTRECHT, Netherlands, Nov. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ultimaker, the global leader in professional 3D printing, appointed Jürgen von Hollen as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Jos Burger, who will retire and join the Supervisory Board. This change will be effective on January 1, 2021.

Jos Burger joined Ultimaker in 2014 and transformed the company from a start-up to a global player in the 3D printing industry. According to the most recent findings from the UK market intelligence firm CONTEXT, in the first half of 2020, strong demand from work-from-home scenarios allowed for Ultimaker to ascend to the top two position in global 3D Printer hardware shipment revenues. Ultimaker leads the Professional Price Class printer segment in the first half of 2020 with a 40% market share of hardware revenues.

“I'm tremendously proud of everything we achieved at Ultimaker in a short period of time. The transformation from a start-up to a company that now shapes how companies produce and manufacture is phenomenal,” said Jos Burger, outgoing CEO, Ultimaker. “The last seven years have been intense, and given my age, it's now time to retire from the CEO role. All the building blocks that will sustain future growth are there, and now it's the best moment to hand over to Jürgen. Ultimaker continues to have a unique space in my heart, and I'm thrilled with the opportunity to serve on the Supervisory Board.”

Jürgen von Hollen brings extensive international experience and a wealth of leadership in fast-growth technology industries. Prior to Ultimaker, Jürgen was President and CEO at Universal Robots, where he successfully grew the company and established it as the global market leader in collaborative robotics. Jürgen has held leadership positions at Bilfinger SE, Daimler-Chrysler Services, T-Systems, and Pentair.

“I am very excited to be joining the Ultimaker team, who has developed a leading product, strong business model and has a very talented team,” said Jürgen von Hollen, incoming CEO, Ultimaker. “I believe this uniquely positions Ultimaker to take full advantage of a USD 35 billion 3D printing market and outgrow this market, which itself is expected to grow at 20% per annum. Ultimaker has the ability to enable dynamic innovation, flexible manufacturing and delivers great productivity improvements. Together, we want to transform organizations and Ultimaker is in a great position to grow as the leader.”

Bart Markus, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, adds: “Jos is leaving a great legacy behind, and now it is the right time to take advantage of what Jos has built and accelerate the company further. We are excited to have Jürgen as our new leader, and he is perfectly suited to take Ultimaker to new heights.”

About Ultimaker

Since 2011, Ultimaker has built an open and easy-to-use solution of 3D printers, software, and materials that enable professional designers and engineers to transform the way they manufacture. Over 400 employees work together to accelerate the world's transition to digital manufacturing.  

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EQT Infrastructure and Proximus form partnership to bring fiber to 1.5 million households in the Flemish Region of Belgium

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  • EQT Infrastructure and Proximus sign joint venture agreement to build a fiber-to-the-home network for at least 1.5 million households and businesses in the Flemish Region of Belgium                 
  • EQT Infrastructure and Proximus are committed to invest significantly into the increased digitalization of the Belgian society                 
  • The JV will benefit from EQT Infrastructure's vast fiber roll-out experience and Proximus' unrivalled expertise in the Belgian telecom market, and together the parties aim at realizing a substantial increase of the fiber coverage in Flanders

STOCKHOLM, Nov. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The EQT Infrastructure V fund (“EQT Infrastructure”) and Proximus, Belgium's largest telecom operator, are pleased to announce the signing of a partnership agreement. As part of this agreement, the two parties will form a new joint venture (JV) that will design, build and maintain a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Flanders. EQT Infrastructure will initially own 50.1 percent of the JV and Proximus will hold 49.9 percent.

EQT Infrastructure and Proximus have identified large opportunities in accelerating the build-out pace of the FTTH network in the Flemish Region of Belgium. FTTH is the fastest and most reliable broadband solution available and is instrumental in managing the increasingly growing internet bandwidth demands of the future. EQT and Proximus are committed to invest significantly into the JV over the coming years with the ambition to bring the required fiber connectivity to Flanders so that its residents and businesses can actively participate in the Gigabit Society.

The JV will benefit from the combination of EQT Infrastructure's vast experience from developing strong fiber companies in Europe and North America, and Proximus' unrivalled expertise in the Belgian telecom market and long-standing relationships with municipalities and housing associations. Together, the parties will create an efficient rollout machine to build a fiber network, which will be open and accessible to all operators. The JV intends to connect its first customers during 2021 and the overall goal is to bring fiber connectivity to at least 1.5 million households and businesses over the coming years. The JV will be supported by a strong board of directors with hands-on experience from fiber deployment in Belgium and other European markets.

Matthias Fackler, Partner at EQT Partners, said: “We are very happy to have found a strong partner in Proximus for this exciting fiber rollout opportunity in Belgium. As the leading investor in digital infrastructure, EQT sees the growing need for future-proof and reliable broadband access all over the European continent. Through this partnership, we look forward to facilitating digital inclusion and sustainable economic growth in Flanders and the Belgian society as a whole.”

Guillaume Boutin, CEO of Proximus, said: “I am very pleased that we have signed this final agreement with EQT Infrastructure. This will enable us to reinforce our leading position in multi-gigabit infrastructures, in an era where reliable, next-generation fixed and mobile connectivity has become more important than ever. It also illustrates our positive attitude towards cooperation and co-investment, which will be an important trigger to guarantee a faster, broader and more cost-efficient roll-out. I'd like to congratulate the teams involved on both sides, as this agreement marks another major step forward to build the most future-proof and open network for Belgium and bring high-speed connectivity solutions to every citizen”.

The closing of the transaction is expected in Q1 2021, subject to customary regulatory approvals.

With this transaction, EQT Infrastructure V is expected to be 15-20 percent invested (including closed and/or signed investments, announced public offers, if applicable, and less any expected syndication) based on its target fund size, and subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Contact:
Matthias Fackler
Partner at EQT Partners and Investment Advisor to EQT Infrastructure
+49 89 25 54 99 0

EQT Press Office, [email protected], +46 8 506 55 334

About EQT

EQT is a purpose-driven global investment organization with more than EUR 75 billion in raised capital and over EUR 46 billion in assets under management across 16 active funds. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America with total sales of more than EUR 27 billion and approximately 159,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.

More info: www.eqtgroup.com

Follow EQT on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram

About Proximus

Proximus Group (Euronext Brussels: PROX) is a provider of digital services and communication solutions operating in the Belgian and international markets. Delivering communication and entertainment experiences for residential consumers and enabling digital transformation for enterprises, we open up a world of digital opportunities so people live better and work smarter. Thanks to advanced interconnected fixed and mobile networks, Proximus provides access anywhere and anytime to digital services and data, as well as to a broad offering of multimedia content. Proximus is a pioneer in ICT innovation, with integrated solutions based on IoT, Data analytics, cloud and security.

With 12,931 employees, all engaged to offer customers a superior experience, the Group realized an underlying Group revenue of EUR 5,686 million end-2019.

More info: www.proximus.com and www.proximus.be

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Press release EQT Infrastructure V Proximus JV 201127

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