Airtel sells 1,400 towers in Tanzania to SBA and Paradigm

4 Jun 2021

Airtel Africa, Bharti Airtel’s majority-owned pan-African division, has agreed the sale of Airtel Tanzania’s telecom tower portfolio to a joint venture majority-owned by US-based SBA Communications and minority-owned by UK-based Paradigm Infrastructure. The deal includes approximately 1,400 towers which form part of the operator’s wireless telecoms infrastructure network. Under the terms of the transaction, Airtel Tanzania will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under a separate lease arrangement with the buyer.

The consideration for the transaction is approximately USD175 million, with closing expected in the second half of the Airtel group’s current financial year (October 2021-March 2022). Around USD60 million from the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the Tanzanian government, as per a settlement described in the Airtel Africa IPO Prospectus document published in June 2019. The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce group debt.

As reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2021 Airtel Africa inked agreements for the sale of its tower subsidiaries in four other African countries to regional infrastructure firm Helios Towers: Malawi (involving at least 735 tower sites, and up to 795 sites), Chad (at least 539 sites, maximum 599), Madagascar (minimum 494, up to 629 sites) and Gabon (between 459 and 519 sites). The company had announced its plan to offload towers in five countries (including Tanzania) in November 2020, seeking to reduce a USD3.5 billion debt pile.

Tanzania, Airtel Africa, Airtel Tanzania, Bharti Airtel, Paradigm Infrastructure, SBA Communications