JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) ¬-THE MTN Group believes the recently-announced sale of mobile network towers in Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon to IHS will improve services to customer, reduce operating costs and meet the high demand for innovative products.
In a major announcement on Friday, the South African-headquartered firm announced the sale of the network towers in adeal worth US$284 million.
Sifiso Dabengwa, Group President and CEO of MTN Group, said the benefits to MTN of monetising its non-core assets and outsourcing passive infrastructure to experienced independent companies such as IHS were considerable.
“With a continued commitment to improving the service to our customers, a reduction of our capital expenditure requirements allows us to concentrate on investing in our customer base and implementing additional services to meet the demand for innovative products and data,” added Dabengwa.
IHS will acquire up to 931 mobile network towers from MTN Cote d’Ivoire for US$141 million and up to 827 towers from MTN Cameroon for US$143 million. Under the definitive agreements, IHS will be a 100 percent shareholder of the tower while MTN Cote d’Ivoire and MTN Cameroon will, on commercial terms, become the anchor tenants on the towers being purchased for an initial term of ten years.
The sale is in line with MTN’s infrastructure sharing strategy aimed at the monetisation of its assets and cost optimisation. 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.
Issam Darwish, CEO of HIS said the company was delighted to build on its successful partnership with MTN.
It has previously built and maintained sites for MTN in Nigeria and Sudan.
“This transaction is the next step in our strategy for expansion across Africa; we continue to invest in countries with attractive economic and demographic profiles. This transaction firmly positions IHS as a leading mobile tower infrastructure company in sub-Saharan Africa with resources for continued expansion and technological innovation.”
The transactions, which are expected to close during the first quarter of 2013, subject to customary closing conditions, will steer IHS to becoming the largest independent tower company in West Africa, with a presence in the four largest economies in the region; Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire.