Helios Towers raises US$160m to buy more towers in Africa and other regions

AFRICA – Telecommunications company Helios Towers says it has raised US$160 million in equity and bonds in order to invest in more tower infrastructure in Africa and elsewhere.

The company raised US$110 million in 48 million new shares on the London Stock Exchange and US$50 million as convertible bonds, it announced.

“This capital raising further strengthens our balance sheet and supports our growth strategy,” said the company, which has a market capitalisation of US$2.3 billion.

Helios Towers has been listed on the London exchange since October 2019.

The company owns and operates more than 8,500 towers and other passive infrastructure in Africa. “Our main customers are the big five African MNOs [mobile network operators] and high-growth challengers”, it says.

The London Stock Exchange-listed Helios has already made acquisitions in South Africa, Senegal, Madagascar, Malawi, Chad and Gabon, and is now believed to be looking further afield.

In June 2021, Helios Towers agreed to buy Omantel’s passive tower infrastructure portfolio of 2,890 sites, for US$575 million in cash.

Through that deal, Helios Towers added the Middle East infrastructure market to its existing African business.

The portfolio is expected to make revenues of US$59 million and an adjusted EBITDA of US$40 million in its first year. Further growth is expected through colocation lease-up and 300 build-to-suit (BTS) sites committed over the next seven years, for which US$35 million growth capex is expected to be invested.

The acquisition forms part of Helios Towers’ new market and strategic growth strategy and is expected to boost Helios’ earnings expand the company’s geographic presence.

The transaction is due to close by the end of 2021, subject to approval from Helios Towers’ shareholders and customary closing conditions including approval from the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of Oman.

The company said: “The net proceeds from the capital increase will support Helios Towers’ ability to negotiate with potential counterparties in a position of financial strength.”

In the opening months of 2021, Helios Towers secured a deal to acquire Airtel Africa’s infrastructure in Madagascar and Malawi for a combined US$108 million, and an agreement for exclusive negotiations covering the purchase of around 1,000 towers in Chad and Gabon.

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