Airtel completes Zambian tower sale to IHS
Africa’s infrastructure player IHS Holding completed a deal to acquire and lease back 949 towers from Airtel in Zambia.
Airtel Africa confirmed last December it would sell 1,100 towers in Zambia and Rwanda for a reported $200 million to IHS, before leasing back the infrastructure for 10 years, under a contract which could be renewed.
The move represents Airtel’s wider strategy of selling tower infrastructure in markets where it operates in the continent.
In a statement, Airtel said the deal allows it to focus “on its core business and customers, enables it to deleverage through debt reduction and will significantly reduce its ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure”.
In July, Airtel said it had sold tower assets in five African countries, raising $1.3 billion, and was in talks over similar divestment in another six markets.
IHS has spent $500 million across Africa on power systems since Q1 2013, and said it will be rolling out renewable energy solutions across Airtel’s network.
By the end of 2016, the company said 80 per cent of its towers will be run on hybrid solar solutions.
“The initiative in Zambia will help us deliver a reliable high quality network run by passive infrastructure experts, whilst reducing our capex requirements and operating costs,” said Christian de Faria, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa.
Airtel had a similar deal in place with rival tower company Helios for the sale of 1,000 towers in Tanzania, but the transaction was terminated for undisclosed reasons.
Source: Mobile World Live 2 September 2015