Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Airtel selling towers in Madagascar and Malawi

Article Image
Airtel Africa is selling its telecoms tower companies in Madagascar and Malawi to Helios Towers for around $108 million, and it is also considering selling its tower assets in Chad and Gabon.

Airtel Africa said in a statement that the tower portfolios in Madagascar and Malawi total 1,229 towers, and it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

Airtel operates in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. At the end of December 2020, it had 118.9 million customers in the region.

UK-based Helios Towers already owns and operates telecommunications towers and passive infrastructure in Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville.

If all four deals go through, it will boost Helios Towers' geographic presence to ten African markets and help it deliver its 2025 vision of expanding to over 12,000 towers.

As part of the deal, Airtel Africa's subsidiaries in Madagascar and Malawi will continue to develop, maintain and operate their equipment on the towers under separate lease arrangements with Helios Towers, largely made in local currencies.

Airtel has also agreed to build an additional 195 sites across Madagascar and Malawi over the three years following the deal's completion, for which a further $11 million of consideration is payable.

Airtel has also signed exclusive memorandum of understanding agreements with Helios Towers for the potential sale of its towers in Chad and Gabon, which together comprise another 1,000 towers. It hopes that if these deals go through it will be before the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

Strategic divestment

The announcement forms part of Airtel's asset monetization program and its strategic divestment of the tower portfolio as it focuses on "an asset-light business model and on its core subscriber-facing operations."

"These transactions will also help to improve the mix of our debt and increase its tenor through long term leases, which are largely payable in local currency by our operating entities, while reducing foreign currency debt of the Group," said Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava in a statement.

Helios said in its own statement that the transactions assets are expected to generate aggregated annualized revenues of $89 million, with further growth anticipated through 315 committed basestations and colocation lease-ups.

"Similar to Helios Towers' other markets, Madagascar, Malawi, Chad and Gabon represent compelling markets for telecoms with a combination of a young, growing and increasingly urbanised populations plus high GDP growth," the group said.

Related posts:

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Over 5K African SMBs graduate from Google's Hustle Academy

Around 5,300 small and midsized businesses (SMBs) from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have graduated from the Google Hustle Academy.

Story

Orange launches super-app 'Max it' for Africa

Telecoms operator Orange has launched its own super-app, called Max it, in five African countries with plans to roll it out across its operations in Africa and the Middle East.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Sponsored video

More videos

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: September 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in September 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included more 5G spectrum licenses, vendor and operator strategies, and partnerships – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: August 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in August 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included a commercial 5G launch from Ethio Telecom and the signing of a virtual wheeling agreement between Vodacom South Africa and Eskom – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id I-0000192