Independent cellphone tower operator IHS, which is headquartered in Nigeria, has secured a US$202m syndicated credit facility from Ecobank Capital and other banks.
The money will be used to help facilitate IHS’s acquisition of MTN Group’s 1 757 base stations in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire.
IHS CEO Issam Darwish says the facility was oversubscribed. Participating banks included UBA, Orabank, Bank of Africa, Banque Nationale d’Investissement and Ecobank.
In Cameroon, the facility comprises $62m in a five-year tranche and a further $40m in a seven-year tranche. In Côte d’Ivoire, the total facility is $100m, made up of a single, five-year tranche.
IHS looks after about 6 000 towers in six African countries — Ghana, Sudan, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon — either on a colocation basis or under an operations and maintenance agreement. It owns towers in three of these markets.
Four main players have emerged in the space in Africa in recent years: IHS, American Tower Corp, Helios Towers and Eaton Towers.
IHS group chief commercial officer Rob Gelderloos told TechCentral recently that the company believes that as many as half of the 170 000 base stations built by mobile operators in Africa will be considered for outsourcing within the next three to five years as pressure grows on tariffs and margins. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media