Affirma Capital exits investment in Africa’s Eaton Towers

AFRICA – Affirma Capital, a Singapore-headquartered private equity firm, has exited its investment in African telecom tower company Eaton Towers.

The exit was conducted as part of a 100% trade sale of Eaton Towers to the listed American Tower Corporation.

The transaction, which was signed in May 2019, valued Eaton Towers at around US$1.85 billion. The valuation of Affirma Capital’s ownership was not announced.

“Since the inception of the Africa business in 2008, the team has realized five full exits returning over US$350 million of capital to our investors,” said Affirma Capital founding partner and head of sub-Saharan Africa Ronald Tamale.

Affirma Capital, which was still part of Standard Chartered Private Equity (SCPE), invested growth capital into Eaton Towers in 2015.

The investment was deployed alongside the existing shareholders of Eaton Towers, namely Capital Group and Development Partners International, and a new investor Ethos Private Equity.

The consortium was known to invest a total of US$400 million in Eaton Towers, according to SCPE’s press release in 2016.

Furthermore, the investment was addressed to support Eaton Towers’ landmark acquisition of tower assets from India’s Bharti Airtel.

A media report in October 2015 announced, Bharti Airtel sold 2,500 towers in four countries namely Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Burkina Faso to Eaton Towers. These assets were owned under the Dutch subsidiary of Bharti Airtel International.

Founded in 2009, Eaton Towers is among Africa’s largest independent telecom tower companies. It owns more than 5,000 towers across Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

The company’s clients include the well-known mobile network operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, MTN and Orange.

On the other hand, Affirma Capital has deployed more than US$6 billion in over 100 companies across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The firm has returned more than US$5 billion in cash proceeds to its investors at highly attractive rates of return.

Affirma Capital said the company builds regional champions by investing in companies backed by strong management teams and founders. The firm currently manages more than US$3.5 billion in assets for leading global limited partners and sovereign wealth funds.

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