Emerging market tower specialist raises $630m

African telecoms tower specialist Helios Towers has raised $630m in new investment, supporting its claims that there is huge potential in the African market for tower sharing and management.

Following this latest injection of cash, Helios will have raised over $1.8bn in financing since launch in late 2009. According to the firm, the growth drivers in the market continue to be robust. There is a need for 100,000 Points of Service in Africa to merely satisfy demand for 2G coverage and associated capacity demand over the next five years, which is underpinned further by the growing demand for 3G and 4G data, driving the need for significant additional infrastructure capacity and in-fill across the continent.

As a result of last week’s transaction with Bharti Airtel, Helios claims to be, an owned-tower basis, the largest tower company in Africa, with over 7,800 owned towers. The Bharti deal alone was thought to be worth around $2bn.

Africa is a hotbed of infrastructure sharing and outsourcing as operators seek to reduce the capital expenditure required to expand service into low-ARPU parts of their market, while also preventing duplication of coverage.

Chuck Green, Chief Executive Officer of HTA, said: “The market opportunity is as compelling as ever and this new capital injection will help us to consolidate our pan-African vision and market leading position, even further. We now have over 7,800 owned towers in Africa and the financial firepower to enter more new markets.”

Investors in Helios include: Quantum Strategic Partners, Helios Investment Partners, Albright Capital Management, RIT Capital Partners and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), all added to their current stakes and are now joined by new shareholders Providence Equity Partners and IFC African, Latin American, and Caribbean Fund.

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