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Business of Tech

IHS Towers launches IPO

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IHS Towers is moving forward with an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange with the IPO expected to be the largest US listing by an African company.

The company is one of the largest independent owners, operators and developers of shared telecoms infrastructure and operates over 30,200 towers across five countries in Africa, three countries in Latin America and one in the Middle East.

The Nigerian-born but now London-based tower company could raise up to $540 million from the IPO, offering 22.5 million shares at a price of between $21 and $24 a share, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. IHS Towers will offer 18 million of the shares and the other 4.5 million will be offered by existing shareholders.

Reuters said post-IPO IHS' valuation could be almost $8 billion.

Pan-African operator MTN owns 29% of IHS and valued its stake at about R30 billion (US$2 billion) at the end of June.

Back in 2018, IHS Towers postponed its original IPO which could have valued the company at as much as $10 billion.

For the six months ended June 30, 2021, IHS reported profit of $77 million, compared to a loss of $353 million a year before. For the half year, revenue increased 15% year-on-year to $764 million.

Africa has seen a trend, of late, of telecoms companies looking to offload their masts and towers or spin them out separately to monetize assets – with MTN, Cell C, Airtel and Telkom all planning tower sales of some sort.

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— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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