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South African investment adds fuel to Helios growth strategy

Helios Towers operates phone masts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.
Helios Towers operates phone masts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.

Management behind telecommunications infrastructure firm Helios Towers believes its investment in tower infrastructure in South Africa fuels its strategy to expand on the continent.

Helios cemented its plans for South Africa when it established its South African subsidiary HTSA in 2019.

In May 2020 Chairman and CEO of Helios Towers Kash Pandya confirmed the company’s deal to acquire 65 telecommunications sites in the South African Western Cape province from Eagle Towers SA.

The cost of the acquisition has not been revealed and the transfer of the telecoms assets is pending regulatory approval.

Pandya said once completed, the deal it will strengthen the company’s regional portfolio “by leveraging its experience, especially in Africa’s pylon infrastructure ecosystem, with the goal of achieving growth organically and via similar acquisitions.”

Helios Towers recently announced results for the first three months of 2020 ending 31 March 2020, its first full quarter as a listed company.

During the period, the Group’s revenue increased by 9% year-on-year to US$101.8 million from US$93.7 million recorded the previous year.

Moreover, adjusted EBITDA also increased by 11% year-on-year to US$54 million from Q1 2019’s EBITDA of US$48.8 million.

“Q1 2020 operating profit increased by 73% year-on-year to US$12.1m (Q1 2019: US$7.0m) [and] Q1 2020 operating profit increased by 170% quarter-on-quarter to US$12.1m (Q4 2019: US$17.3m loss),” according to its results.

COVID-19 impact

Pandya said the Group “will weather the COVID-19 storm” by continuing to leverage its business model, operational excellence and dependability of its long-term contracted revenue with Helios Towers’ blue-chip customers.

“Following the outbreak of COVID-19, these attributes will serve the business well going forward. Never before has reliable connectivity been so vital, and at the heart of our sustainable business model is intrinsic infrastructure for a connected society,” he added.

Group chairman Sir Samuel Jonah said Helios Towers’ employees have made the necessary adjustments to adapt well to remote working “while adopting the health and safety practices required to provide continued excellent service to our mobile network operator clients, their customers, communities and economies across sub-Saharan Africa with the mobile connectivity they expect and need.”

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