Updates on potential African tower transactions (Dec 2013)

Airtel bringing 15,000 towers to market

The big headline this month is Airtel selling all 15,000 of their African towers. Read all about it here.

Interest in Egyptian towers cooling

The deadline for Mobinil’s proposed sale and leaseback of approximately 2,500 towers has reportedly been extended, and the opportunity remains ‘on the radar’ for several towercos and local market investors.

Continuing civil unrest means TowerXchange has downgraded this transaction from “imminent” to “rumours of a potential transaction have been confirmed.”

Etisalat are reportedly in the early stages of a tower sale in Egypt.

Tier one MNO towers coming to market in Nigeria?

TowerXchange has confirmed that Etisalat has appetite and intent to sell around 4,000 towers in Nigeria, and that a green light from the board is all that remains before bringing the towers to market. Standard Bank has been appointed to advise on the deal.

Meanwhile, a TMT Finance reports that MTN has cooled on the idea of selling their 12-13,000 towers in Nigeria.

MTN towers in South Africa too strategic to sell?

TMT Finance reports that a strategic review has concluded that MTN’s towers in South Africa are “too strategic to sell,” apparently quashing a long-rumored deal with American Tower.

MTN pressing ahead with tower sale in Rwanda and Zambia

MTN continue to take a selective, country by country approach to tower sale and leaseback. IHS are rumored to be bidding aggressively against American Tower to acquire approximately 1,500 MTN towers in Rwanda and Zambia

Zantel towers still on the block in Tanzania

Helios Towers Africa and IHS are the believed to still be interested in Zantel’s 711 towers for sale in Tanzania, the majority of which are in Zanzibar.

Sontatel towers still available

TowerXchange understands that approximately 2,800 towers in Senegal, Mali, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau remain on the market. The operations are all affiliates of Sonatel Group, which in turn is 42.33% owned by Orange, and all trade under the Orange brand.

Tower deal imminent in Burundi

Frontier Tower Solutions are closing in on an opportunity to acquire 43 towers, and operate a build-to-suit programme, with Lacell, East Africa Telecom’s subsidiary in Burundi.

Unconfirmed rumours

Orange interested in partnering with a towerco in DRC… Millicom rumoured to be considering tower sales in Senegal, Rwanda, Mauritius and Chad… Ooredoo reportedly interested in kicking off tower sales in North Africa, which could affect their subsidiaries in Algeria and/or Tunisia…

Check out TowerXchange’s latest Tower Transaction Heatmap

Comments (2)

TowerXchange continues to receive conflicting reports about the potential sale of MTN’s towers in SA. Some commentators suggest that a strategic review has found the assets “too strategic” to sell. Other sources suggest that MTN may still be considering divesting assets, but that some of their stakeholders may be more hesitant to sell assets in their home market than elsewhere in Africa.

Then we see reports today of a potential infrasharing deal between MTN and Telkom: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-south-africa/mtn-said-to-be-in-talks-with-telkom.

Bi-lateral tower swaps are commonplace in SA, and this unsourced report doesn’t specify the scale of any possible infrasharing relationship between the parties.

Sale deal was never going to happen irrespective of market anticipation.
There is a lot more to the transaction’s vulnerabilities than is reported in media primarily due to lack of insight on the said strategic elements of MTN towers.

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