MTN is boosting its economic interest in mobile phone tower operator IHS Group from 15% to 29%, the JSE-listed telecommunications group told shareholders on Wednesday.
In a statement on the JSE’s stock exchange news service, MTN said it will exchange its 51% interest in Nigeria Tower InterCo, the parent company of INT Towers (a Nigerian telecoms tower operator), for the increased stake in IHS.
The deal is expected to close once new shares in IHS Group have been issued, which will happen by March.
“In exchanging all of its interest in INT in Nigeria for additional shares in the pan-African IHS Group, all of MTN’s interest in IHS will sit alongside a world-class group of investors, including Wendel, the International Finance Corporation, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, Korea Investment Corporation and Emerging Capital Partners, among other international investors,” MTN said.
It said the transaction allows it to simplify its tower ownership structure and diversify its exposure across the IHS Group, which operates in several markets in Africa.
“The transaction will better enable MTN to crystallise value for MTN’s shareholders in the future. The investment in IHS Group allows MTN to benefit economically from its previously owned passive infrastructure and continued network investment,” it added.
“The transaction represents a significant step in MTN’s longstanding partnership with IHS. It simplifies our ownership structure and diversifies our tower investments across the IHS Group,” said MTN Group interim executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko.
“IHS Group is extremely well positioned for future growth and build-out from 3G upgrades and the move to LTE across its key markets,” he said.
Prior to the transaction, MTN’s interest in IHS Group was non-voting. “To ensure the continued independent and competitive proposition of IHS Group, MTN’s influence on IHS Group is significantly restricted by a number of limitations including on voting rights, no board representation and restrictions on access to information,” MTN said. “These restrictions do not impact MTN’s economic interest.”
IHS Group is the largest independent tower operator in Africa, Europe and the Middle East and the tenth largest independent tower company in the world. It has 23 300 towers under management. It operates in markets such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia and Rwanda. It bought Helios Towers Nigeria in early 2016.
MTN’s 15% interest in IHS Group was held at fair value of R11,4bn at 30 June 2016. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media