MTN Group has reached an agreement to sell as many as 931 base stations in Cote d’Ivoire and 827 base stations in Cameroon to IHS Holding Limited for US$141m and $143m respectively, for a total transaction of $284m (R2,4bn).
Under the deal, HIS will be the 100% shareholder of the tower companies to be set up in each country to manage the towers and other passive infrastructure. MTN subsidiaries in the two West African nations will become the anchor tenants on the towers for an initial term of 10 years.
“The benefits to MTN of monetising our noncore assets and outsourcing passive infrastructure to experienced independent companies such as IHS are considerable,” says MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa in a statement.
“The sale of towers is in line with MTN’s infrastructure-sharing strategy aimed at the monetisation of its assets and cost optimisation,” the operator says.
The agreements include a commitment from IHS to roll out a “build-to-suit programme” to support MTN’s future requirements in both countries, as well as pursue opportunities to build tower sites for other wireless operators.
IHS has previously built and maintained sites for MTN in Nigeria and Sudan. Its CEO, Issam Darwish, says this latest deal with MTN represents the next step in its expansion across Africa. Following closing of the contemplated transactions, IHS says it will become the largest independent tower company in West Africa with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire.
The transactions are expected to close during the first quarter of 2013, subject to customary closing conditions. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media