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Helios Towers announces first SA investment

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 18 Jan 2019

Helios Towers announces first SA investment

Independent telecoms tower infrastructure company Helios Towers has 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 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).

The agreement with SA Towers represents the Group's first investment in the country.

According to a statement issued by Helios Towers, SA Towers was launched in 2016 by local entrepreneurs Rico Marx and Harm Kelderman, backed by a real estate private investment business Africa Property Partners (APP).

The statement reads: "SA Towers has built strong relationships with all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the South African market and established a team of professionals that worked diligently to build a pipeline of potential tower sites on more than 500 urban locations across the country, ready to be built or in the process of being permitted."

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

"HTSA expects to be able to support the growth strategies of all the players by building towers and other open access infrastructure in the country, providing support for its customers' current 4G needs and additional requirements for their extensive rollout plans for 5G networks. This South African expansion provides Helios Towers further geographic diversification into a fifth country, one of the largest, fastest-growing and most attractive markets in Africa," the statement continued.

Kash Pandya, CEO of Helios Towers said: "We are thrilled to announce this acquisition of SA Towers' business, which will be made via our new partnership with Vulatel. It is consistent with our strategy of entering new markets in sub-Saharan Africa to further expand our geographic footprint. We think the combination of Helios Towers' expertise in tower infrastructure management and strong balance sheet with SA Towers' entrepreneurial management team, tower pipeline and local relationships, puts HTSA into an ideal position to meet the needs of the MNOs and their customers in South Africa."

Rico Marx, co-founder and director of SA Towers added: "We're delighted to be partnering with an experienced and well-funded tower operator such as Helios Towers. Together with the MNOs, whose relationships with SA Towers we value highly, we have ambitious expansion plans in order to meet the burgeoning demand for high quality tower infrastructure by the MNOs fuelled by their desire to meet the needs of their customers. In partnership with Helios Towers we will be able to accelerate the development of this tower pipeline. We look forward to working within the Helios Towers' team to support the forecasted strong growth of mobile networks of the MNOs in South Africa for the coming years."

The SA Towers' team will integrate into the Helios Towers organisation and manage the day-to-day South African tower operations, and HTSA will fund and support the build out and expansion of the pipeline of permitted locations.

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