Airtel Africa sells tower portfolio for $175 million

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 02, 2021

The transaction is the strategic divestment as it focuses on the asset-light biz model.

Airtel Africa on Wednesday announced the sale of the tower portfolio belonging to Airtel Tanzania to a joint venture company (the purchaser) owned by a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation and by Paradigm Infrastructure Limited (Paradigm), for around $175 million.

SBA, a global independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, will be the majority owner. Paradigm is a UK company focused on developing, owning and operating shared passive wireless infrastructure in selected growth markets.

Out of this transaction amount, around $157.5 million is payable on the first closing date (which is expected to take place in the second half of the Group’s current financial year), with the balance payable in instalments upon the completion of the transfer of any remaining towers to the purchaser, the company said in a statement.

"Around $60 million from the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the government of Tanzania, as per the settlement described in the Airtel Africa IPO Prospectus document published in June 2019," it said.

The tower portfolio in Airtel Tanzania comprises around 1,400 towers which form part of the Group’s wireless telecommunications infrastructure network.

Under the terms of the transaction, the Group’s subsidiary Airtel Tanzania plc will continue developing, maintaining and operating its equipment on the towers under a separate lease arrangement with the purchaser.

The transaction is the latest strategic divestment of the Group’s tower portfolio. It focusses on an asset-light business model and its core subscriber-facing operations, the company said.

The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt at the Group level, it added.

Published on June 02, 2021

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