Singapore’s BW Group has expanded into the fibre-optic cable market with the acquisition of a New Zealand-based company specialising in the sector.

The Andreas Sohmen-Pao-led shipowner has bought Hawaiki Submarine Cable Ltd Partnership and International Connectivity Services Ltd for an undisclosed fee.

Headquartered in Auckland, Hawaiki operates a network of submarine cable systems linking nations in the Pacific Ocean.

In 2018, Hawaiki completed the Hawaiki Transpacific Cable, a 15,000 km subsea fibre optic cable that connects Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Hawaii to the west coast of the US.

It is said to be the largest and fastest link between Australasia and the US, with branching units in place to the Pacific Islands of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

Commercial operations started in July 2018. With a guaranteed design life of 25 years, Hawaiki will be in service until at least 2043.

In November 2021, Hawaiki announced plans for a new submarine cable that would link South East Asia with Australasia and the US.

Construction of the estimated 22,000 km Hawaiki Nui system was due to start in 2022, with an expected cable ready-for-service date in 2025.

“These cables represent vital infrastructure for the deployment of technology in industry, research, and the digital economy,” Sohmen-Pao said.

“And they are enablers for social progress by connecting countries across the oceans, facilitating digital trade just as ships in the past enabled physical trade.”

The acquisition, which was carried out by BW Digital, was first announced in July 2021, but was subject to applicable regulatory filings and approval, which have now been received.

Remi Galasso, founder of Hawaiki and now chief executive of BW Digital, said: “Capitalising on Hawaiki’s existing assets, our strategy is to build an independent, carrier-neutral, digital infrastructure platform, that will respond to ever-growing market requirements for international connectivity and sustainable data storage.”

BW Digital said its roadmap features a series of complementary developments focused on the Asia-Pacific region.

That includes Hawaiki Nui — the first submarine cable to directly interconnect Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the US — as well as Datagrid, Australasia’s first carbon-neutral hyperscale datacentre.

Datagrid is located in Invercargill on New Zealand’s South Island and is powered by 100% green energy.

BW Digital has also partnered with Chile’s state-owned entity Desarrollo País for the development of the Humboldt cable system, which will connect Sydney to Valparaiso — Chile’s second-largest city — and link the South American market across a Great Southern Route.

Headquartered in Singapore, BW Digital develops, funds and operates digital infrastructures in the Asia-Pacific region.