Kenya: Airtel to finalise Eaton Tower deal

Telecoms

According to a report via The East African Weekly, Bharti Airtel is preparing to close a USD 186 million deal with Eaton for the sale of its 1,100 towers in Kenya.

The report revealed that the company is expected to invest the money in its operations in Kenya, where it has struggled to make money due to intense competition. Citing sources close to the transaction, it said the deal could be closed in the next few weeks and indeed as early as the end of September.

According to the report, the sale agreement was signed in September 2014 for 3,500 towers in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania. As public knowledge, the proceeds were to be used to settle debts and raise money to turn around its loss-making business in the continent. Airtel has already sold its towers in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda and Congo Brazzaville for USD 1.3 billion.

Christophe Soulet, Airtel Africa executive director, said it is selling assets to reposition itself, although it is being affected by huge currency depreciation in Southern, West and East Africa. He declined to comment on when the deal will be sealed, this is according to the report.

In November 2014, American Tower acquired 4,700 communications sites in Nigeria from Bharti Airtel. In December 2014, Bharti Airtel sealed a deal to divest 1,100 telecoms towers in Rwanda and Zambia to IHS Holdings. Airtel will sell and lease back towers in both countries under a ten-year, renewable contract. Meanwhile, agreements to sell towers in Tanzania and Chad to Helios Towers Africa were terminated in June, but discussions are back on.
Source: ITNews Africa 28 September 2015