Bharti Airtel has earned more than USD1.3 billion from the sale of its telecoms towers in five African countries, according to local press reports, with the proceeds set to be utilised to reduce debt. Bharti Airtel has not yet made an official announcement on the sale, but a source used by the Economic Times claims that the transactions have been concluded in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda and the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). Meanwhile, additional tower sale agreements are said to have lapsed in two unspecified countries, while the Indian telco is awaiting approvals for transactions in a further six African countries.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2014 Bharti Airtel inked a deal to divest 1,100 telecoms towers in Rwanda and Zambia to IHS Holdings. As per the deal Airtel will sell and lease back towers in both countries under a ten-year renewable contract. Meanwhile, agreements to sell tower assets in Tanzania and Chad to Helios Towers Africa were terminated in June 2015, although no reason was given for the decision. The agreements formed part of a larger deal announced in July last year to offload 3,100 towers in four African markets – the other two being the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – to the passive infrastructure firm.