HomeInfrastructureHelios Towers buys Airtel Africa's mobile tower business in Malawi for €50...

    Helios Towers buys Airtel Africa’s mobile tower business in Malawi for €50 million: NTT Docomo sells 6002 sites to JTower


    Tower industry latest: massive market consolidation good for 5G

    Helios Towers has closed the acquisition of Airtel Africa’s telecom towers business in Malawi, adding 723 sites to its portfolio.

    The ‘gross consideration’ for the deal, reports Proactive Investors, is $55 million (€50 million) of which 20 per cent is backed by the Old Mutual Infrastructure Investment Trust Fund, representing a local Malawian shareholding of 20%, according to a Helios statement.

    A 12-year service agreement has also been signed between London-based Helios and Airtel Africa on the acquired assets. The investment report reveals that the assets are expected to generate revenue of €20.87 million ($23 million) and adjusted earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €7.26 million ($8 million) to Helios in its first full year of ownership.

    A further 60 ‘build-to-suits’ (AKA customised constructions) will be committed over the next three years as well as ‘colocation lease-ups’, Helios added.

    Meanwhile, in other tower company news Japan’s NTT Docomo has agreed to sell 6,002 towers to JTower for 106.2 billion Jananese yen (€790 million). The operator will then lease the towers back, as the two companies expand their network sharing efforts.

    Docomo will transfer towers where certain conditions have been met. JTower is looking for new tenants from rival operators. Meanwhile Docom says the transfer cuts its capital investment and operating expenses and speeds up the rollout of 5G networks in Japan. Since the sale creates the option for network sharing other operators can enjoy the same benefit. This also lowers the environmental impact through the more effective use of existing infrastructure.

    Docomo has 10,000 5G base stations across the country, with plans to double that number and take population coverage to 90 per cent by March 2024.

    In November 2021, the two companies announced a capital and business alliance, with the operator acquiring part of the JTower shares held by its parent company and become a shareholder with 2.5 per cent voting rights. Docomo’s parent NTT in July agreed to sell 71 towers to JTower for an undisclosed sum.

    Rival operator Rakuten Mobile, a relative newcomer with minimal legacy baggage, has also formed a capital tie-up with JTower and acquired a stake in the tower company.