Airtel Divests Telecoms Tower Assets in DRC to Helios Towers Africa

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Limited, a global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and Helios Towers Africa, an independent telecoms towers company in Africa, today announced an agreement for the divestment of approximately 950 telecoms towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Airtel to HTA. The divestment also includes towers currently under construction in the DRC.

Highlights

Airtel to divest approximately 950 towers to HTA across the DRC;
Deal to expand HTA's tower coverage in Africa to over 6,500 owned towers;
Deal will help Airtel deleverage through debt reduction and reduced ongoing capital expenditure;
Follows Airtel's and HTA's strategies to drive cost efficiencies throughout the industry, the promotion of passive infrastructure and to mitigate against the proliferation of towers; and
Airtel will have full access to the towers from HTA under a long term lease contract

The agreement will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, while enabling it to deleverage through debt reduction. The deal will significantly reduce Airtel's ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure and also mitigate the proliferation of towers through enhanced sharing.

HTA is solely focused on providing telecoms infrastructure solutions which help its customers to achieve their goals. These goals typically include: reducing operating cost, improving network uptime, preserving capital, focusing on their core business, and mitigating the proliferation of towers through infrastructure sharing, as they expand network coverage and capacity to meet the growing demand and improve quality of telecom service.

The agreement is subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

Commenting on the agreement, Kash Pandya, Chief Executive Officer of Helios Towers Africa, added:

"HTA is proud to be chosen by Airtel as its partner for the ownership and management of its existing infrastructure. This is a ground-breaking move for HTA, and Airtel's decision is a significant endorsement of HTA's reputation, management team and operating track record."

Christian De Faria, Executive Chairman, Bharti Airtel International Netherlands BV (BAIN), added:

"We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with HTA in Africa. The agreement is in line with our stated philosophy of divesting passive infrastructure and promoting sharing of towers to enhance operational efficiencies that will further the growth of telecom services. Airtel remains committed to DRC and will continue to invest in its operations and serve customers with world-class services."
Source: MarketWire 5 May 2016