By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
July 11, 2014
A day after it announced that it has bought 3,100 cell towers from Bharti Airtel, Helios Towers Africa said Thursday it has raised $630 million in new equity resources from its existing and new shareholders.
The fund will allow HTA to pursue its pan-African vision and growth strategy with regard to the African telecoms towers industry, the company said. In addition, in light of the deal it made with Airtel, HTA is now the largest independently owned telecom tower company in Africa with over 7,800 owned towers.
Since its establishment in 2009, the company has raised over $1.8 billion from current and new shareholders, including Albright Capital Management, International Finance Corp., IFC African, Latin America and Caribbean Fund, Helios Investment Partners, RIT Capital Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Quantum Strategic Partners.
HTA said this latest fund will also provide it with the financial resources it needs to expand into new market. The company expects to close negotiations shortly on over $350 million new and extended debt facilities with a group of international and domestic lenders.
The African telecoms industry continues to show huge potential due to high mobile device usage on the continent. Another growth driver underpinning the telecoms towers industry continues to be robust: There is a need for 100,000 Points of Service (“PoS”) in Africa to merely satisfy demand for 2G coverage and associated capacity demand over the next five years. This PoS requirement is underpinned further by the growing demand for 3G and 4G data, which is driving the need for significant additional infrastructure capacity and in-fill across the continent.
HTA’s business model of sale-leaseback, whereby it buys towers held by single operators and leases them back to the seller and multiple other operators simultaneously, helps deliver improved efficiency for operators, reduces costs for users and increases accessibility. The company acquires, builds and manages telecom infrastructure, leasing it to operators across Africa.
HTA currently operates in Ghana, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On Wednesday, the company said it has signed a deal agreement with Bharti Airtel to buy 3,100 towers. The deal also gives Airtel full access to the towers under a long-term lease contract.