12 July 2011 – Financial Times
By Daniel Thomas, Property Correspondent
Global Switch, the data centre operator owned by billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, is investing £1bn in the expansion of its network across the world amid talk of a future public listing for the group.
The group is embarking on a development programme that will add more than 1.1m sq ft of additional space by 2013, at an estimated cost of about £1bn. Global Switch has seen many of its centres round the world near full occupancy given the surge in demand for data provision and processing, while it is targeting growth in Asian emerging markets.
John Corcoran, executive chairman, told the FT that demand for data centre capacity was being driven by sustained growth across all its users.
The company has been linked with a potential flotation in the next few years, although Mr Corcoran played down the prospects of any imminent move. He said that an IPO would not happen “for a while, certainly not this year”, pointing to the need for more stability in equity markets. The Reuben brothers were not in a hurry to sell, he added.
Data centres were operating now as outsourcing places for both IT storage and processing, he said, with the financial services industry needing additional space for both functions owing to new regulation. Government bodies were also increasingly customers as they sought to push services online, while internet users requiring more “on demand” information and content also pushed demand.
Mr Corcoran said that future demand could also come from the move toward “cloud computing”, in which businesses and individuals access and store software and services through the web rather than from a personal computer.
He said demand had already surged from suppliers of such cloud services. He said: “The expansion of our data centre footprint is a response to existing and forecast customer demand. We’re now seeing increased levels of demand across the board from our customers while the advent of cloud computing can only accentuate this trend.”
The company owns and operates more than 3m sq ft of data centre space valued at about £3.2bn in seven locations. The first phase of development will enlarge a Singapore centre by 50,000 sq ft, and build an extension of 185,000 sq ft to its Paris centre.