Helios in telco tower splurge

Helios in telco tower splurge

Published: July 10, 2014

African telecoms tower operator to acquire 3,100 towers from India’s Bharti Airtel.

Helios Towers Africa (HTA), an independent pan-African operator of telecoms infrastructure, has acquired 3,100 new towers from India’s Bharti Airtel. The deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, will expand HTA’s coverage to 7,800 towers across Africa. The new acquisitions are in four markets, though a spokesperson for HTA declined to name them.

Bharti Airtel has been divesting its African assets as part of a plan to reduce its debt burden and ongoing capital expenditure. It will still have access to the towers under a long-term lease contract with HTA, though operational control will be transferred to the new owner. This fits with a strategy agreed by both parties that infrastructure should be shared, helping reduce the proliferation of towers and drive industry-wide cost savings.

Shortly after the news of the acquisition broke, HTA, which was founded by George Soros-backed Helios Investment Partners, announced that it had raised US$630mn in equity from new and existing investors. The company has raised around US$1.8bn over the past five years, mainly to fund acquisitions.