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London, 23rd November 2007 – Announcements were made at the first annual Investing in Data Centres forum ( facilitated by BroadGroup, for new build plans which will create more than one million square foot of fresh capacity.
The first annual BroadGroup Investing in Data Centres event was held on November 22nd at the Cass Business School in London. Involving senior executives directly involved in investment decisions, the attendees included investment bankers, property funds, VCs, corporate financiers, data centre operators, regional development and investment agencies, and others. Around 30% of attendees were from outside the UK.

With an impressive scale of new build plans exceeding one million square foot, presenters at the event said that much of this new capacity will be focused on serving one or several large corporate clients. However other projects include developments for colocation, and business continuity and disaster recovery. There are also a number of smaller data centres being built to enable managed service providers and ISPs to either cut their own costs, or use a data centre as a launchpad for managed services. Managed services now include utility or cloud computing services, with two specialist start-ups in this area present at the event.

The forum heard that despite the ever present dangers of over-supply in a market as cyclical as data centres and the fear of technology obsolescing current facilities, there was a mood of optimism. The recent flotation of TeleCity valued the company at more than £500m, and the acquisition of IX Europe by Equinix had followed a rise of 400% in its value over an 18-month period. Data centre operators at the forum reported Internal Rates of Return of above 30% a year, while property investors perceived the value in the long-term and rising rental contracts.

As city centres continue to suffer from the major challenges of land and power shortages, regional investment zones are actively developing plans to attract new build and the conference heard from both Invest in Iceland and International Business Wales who are looking for a strong pull-through of economic activity from companies re-locating in clusters to be close to their data.
Summing up, Steve Wallage, managing director of BroadGroup Consulting, said that, “The Forum delivered rare information and insight into data centre business opportunities and risks and presented a landscape where the fundamentals remain extremely strong. Announcements of build also suggest the Forum is regarded as the new channel for senior level networking.”

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