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Airtel Africa sells tower portfolio in Tanzania for US$175m

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Tanzania , 03 Jun 2021

Airtel Africa has sold its tower portfolio in Tanzania to a joint venture in a transaction valued at approximately US$175-million.

In a statement released to the media, the deal is described as the largest strategic divestment of the Group’s tower portfolio as it focuses on an asset-light business model and its core subscriber-facing operations.

Airtel Africa provides telecommunications and mobile money services in 14 African countries including DRC, Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda.

According to the company, its tower portfolio in Tanzania comprises about 1, 400 towers that form part of the Group’s wireless telecommunications infrastructure network.

An excerpt from the company’s statement reads: “Airtel Africa announces the sale of towers portfolio belonging to Airtel Tanzania to a joint venture company owned by a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation, a global independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, as majority owner, and Paradigm Infrastructure Limited, a UK company focused on developing, owing and operating shared passive wireless infrastructure in selected growth markets.”

According to the terms of the deal, Airtel Tanzania will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under a separate lease arrangement with the purchaser.

The company said out of the US$175 million transaction for the towers, approximately US$157.5-million is payable on the first closing date, which is expected to take place in the second half of the company’s (Airtel Africa) current financial year.

The balance, the company said is payable in installments on the completion of the transfer of any remaining towers to the purchaser.

“Around US$60 million of the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for the distribution to the government of Tanzania. The rest of the amount will be used to reduce debt at the group level,” the statement added.

In March this year, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Helios Towers to sell 1, 229 towers in Malawi and Madagascar for US$108-million.

Additionally, the company also announced that it would sale its tower assets in Chad and Gabon to Helios Towers.

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