Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, today announces the sale of the tower portfolio belonging to Airtel Tanzania to a joint venture company owned by a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation, a leading global independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, as majority owner, and by Paradigm Infrastructure Limited, a UK company focused on developing, owning and operating shared passive wireless infrastructure in selected growth markets.
The tower portfolio in Airtel Tanzania comprises approximately 1,400 towers which form part of the Group’s wireless telecommunications infrastructure network. Under the terms of the Transaction, the Group’s subsidiary Airtel Tanzania plc will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under a separate lease arrangement with the Purchaser.
The Transaction is the latest strategic divestment of the Group’s tower portfolio as it focuses on an asset-light business model and on its core subscriber-facing operations.
The consideration for the Transaction is approximately $175m, of which approximately $157.5m is payable on the first closing date (which is expected to take place in the second half of the Group’s current financial year) with the balance payable in instalments upon the completion of the transfer of any remaining towers to the Purchaser.
Around $60m from the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the Government of Tanzania, as per the settlement described in the Airtel Africa IPO Prospectus document published in June 2019.
The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt at the Group level