The move will see around 1,400 towers passed to a new joint venture from SBA Communications Corporation and Paradigm Infrastructure Ltd
Airtel Africa is continuing its broad strategy of passive infrastructure divestment, today announcing that it is selling its Tanzanian towers to a joint venture of SBA Communications Corporation and Paradigm Infrastructure Ltd.
The deal covers around 1,400 mobile towers throughout the country and is set to raise around $175 million. Airtel will continue to develop, maintain, and operate its equipment on the towers as part of a separate lease agreement with the new owners.
Airtel suggests that around $60 million raised from the sale will be invested into network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania, as well as partially being distributed to the Tanzanian government, as per the terms of its public listing back in 2019. The remainder of the funds will be used to pay down Airtel’s group debt.
“The transaction is the latest strategic divestment of the Group’s tower portfolio as it focusses on an asset-light business model and on its core subscriber-facing operations….The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt at Group level,” Airtel said.
This is not the first major tower sale we have seen from Airtel Africa in recent months, as the company tries to strip down its business model to focus on core subscriber-facing operations. Back in March, the group agreed to sell 2,227 sites across Madagascar, Malawi, Chad and Gabon to Helios Towers in a deal estimated to be worth around $250 million. The deals across all four markets are expected to close in 2022.
Helios Towers also recently acquired 1,200 towers
from Senegalese operator Free for around €160 million.
For Airtel Africa, this is the latest in a variety of moves to raise funds to pay off its immense debt. In April, the company signed a deal to sell a 3.75% stake in its mobile money operations to Mastercard for around $100 million, having earlier sold a 7.5% stake to TPG for $200 million. Combined with its recent tower sales, Airtel appears to have raised around $725 million since the start of the year.
Want to keep up to date with the latest developments in the world of telecoms? Subscriber to receive Total Telecom’s daily newsletter here
Also in the news: