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Tower Talk: a guide to the week’s major cell site developments

21 Jun 2016

Mauritius-based tower management firm IHS Towers has completed its acquisition of 1,211 tower sites from Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN). Under the agreement, IHS acquired the entire issued share capital of HTN, taking full operational control of the underlying business. HTN’s towers will be integrated into the IHS network and connected to IHS’s network operating centre. The company will also work to roll out its renewable energy solutions and diesel reduction initiatives whilst maintaining ‘unparalleled’ uptime. IHS notes that there are ‘meaningful synergies’ that will be derived from the transaction, given a considerable portion of its portfolio is located in Nigeria.

Bharti Infratel, the wireless infrastructure arm of India’s largest cellco by subscribers, Bharti Airtel, is in talks to acquire Tower Vision India from a group of international financial investors. The Economic Times cites sources familiar with the matter as saying that tower management company Tower Vision currently owns around 8,500 towers with a tenancy ration of 1.8 and was expected to be valued at around INR40 billion (USD591.7 million) including debt of INR10 billion. ‘Given the constraints in putting up new towers, Bharti Infratel is looking at the inorganic route to ramp up its tower numbers and increase its foothold that would help meet the rising demand of 3G and 4G operators,’ one unnamed source was quoted as saying.

US-based tower group American Tower Corporation (ATC) and Brazilian cellco TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) have completed the fourth tranche of a longstanding tower sale agreement. Under the original pact, signed in November 2014, ATC agreed to purchase two tower portfolios, consisting of around 5,240 towers and 1,240 towers for a total consideration of roughly BRL3 billion (USD879.8 million). The duo completed the first three tranches of the sale in April, September and December 2015, transferring a total 5,483 towers for BRL2.5 billion. The most recent transaction, meanwhile, saw ATC pay BRL109 million for 270 towers. TIM Brasil expects the transfer of the remaining up to 998 towers to be finalised in the coming months.

US development finance agency the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has pledged to provide financial assistance to Apollo Towers Myanmar and has begun the disbursement of a USD250 million loan to the towerco. Frontier Myanmar quotes OPIC President Elizabeth Littlefield as saying: ‘Telecommunications are a critical part of ongoing development across the world and, through this project, OPIC is looking to have a significant impact on those who previously lacked access to telecommunications coverage in the country.’ Apollo currently operates around 1,800 towers throughout Myanmar and is planning to install a further 2,000 in rural areas.

Energy and communication infrastructure provider 3i Infrastructure has raised GBP385 million (USD562.4 million) through an open offer. Around GBP230 million of the proceeds will fund the company’s investments in tower company Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), in which the company recently acquired a 36% stake. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, 3i Infrastructure agreed to invest GBP75 million in WIG to help fund a GBP1 billion expansion programme.

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