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Helios' SA interests strengthen results

Helios' SA interests strengthen results

Senior management at independent telecoms tower infrastructure company Helios Towers has highlighted the company's exploits in South Africa and its continued expansion plans for the continent in its financial results for the twelve months to 31 December 2018.

According to a statement by the company, revenue for the 12 months increased by 3% year-on-year to US$356.0-million (FY 2017: US$345.0-million), while adjusted EBITDA was up 22% year-on-year to US$177.6-million (FY 2017: US$146.0-million) with FY 2018 adjusted EBITDA margin at 50% (FY 2017: 42%), up 8ppts.

Moreover, Q4 2018 adjusted EBITDA is up 13% year-on-year to US$46.5-million (Q4 2017: US$41.1-million) with Q4 2018 Adjusted EBITDA margin at 52% (Q4 2017: 46%), up 6ppts.

The company also noted that its US$100-million term loan facility has been raised "to fund future expansion in current markets and opportunities in new markets, specifically South Africa."


Helios Towers announced its entry into the South African market on 14 January 2019 via a partnership with Vulatel to create a South African infrastructure platform Helios Towers South Africa (HTSA).

Shortly thereafter HTSA signed an agreement with the South African tower company, SA Towers whereby the Group will acquire a controlling interest in the business of SA Towers and fund the business's future rollout.

Helios chief commercial officer Alexander Leigh said the alliance with SA Towers will enable it to scale local operations and leverage an immediate pipeline of 500 urban build-to-suit tower opportunities, relationships with MNOs and SA Towers' town planning expertise/ capabilities for managing building permit applications with municipalities.

Leigh said at the time: "For us the South African towers market is quite unique in terms of how long the permitting process takes to actually be able to build this infrastructure in the urban centres. And what's quite unique about the SA Towers team and what they've achieved is that they've really come at it from a property angle, and the expertise and town planning and managing that building permit process really adds a strong string to our bow."

According to its latest results, the company's colocations now stand at 6,804, with the number of total sites at 6,745.

The company remains focussed on "continued organic growth through additional colocation volumes, amendment revenues and built-to-suit tenancies as well as margin expansion driven by additional operational efficiencies in its existing markets."

"This will be supplemented by the recently announced expansion into South Africa, through a partnership with Vulatel and subsequent acquisition of SA Towers, which provides the infrastructure platform to enter into one of Africa's largest and most attractive markets," it added.

Kash Pandya, Chief Executive Officer of Helios Towers, said: "Whilst there continues to be significant opportunities in our existing markets, we are also excited about the recent announcement of our entry into South Africa. Expansion into new African markets and new verticals is a key part of our strategy. The partnership with Vulatel and acquisition with SA towers provides the platform to build out wireless and fixed line open access infrastructure in one of Africa's most exciting mobile markets.

"As we look to the year ahead, our focus continues to be on delivering for our customers, employees and investors. We remain committed to unlocking the potential for mobile connectivity in our high-growth African markets."

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