Airtel and IHS complete Zambian tower deal
Airtel Zambia has completed its sale and leaseback of 949 towers to IHS Holding under long term renewable contracts announced last year.
The two companies signed the contracts for the sale of 1,100 towers in Zambia and Rwanda for reportedly $200 million in December 2014. The move is part of Airtel’s strategy to divest from tower assets in the region.
“The initiative in Zambia will help us deliver a reliable high quality network run by passive infrastructure experts, whilst reducing our capex requirements and operating costs,” said Christian de Faria, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa.
Airtel added that the deal enables it to focus on its core business and customers, reduce debt as well as significantly reduce its ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.
The operator sold its tower assets in five African countries for over $1.3 billion in July 2015 and is in the process of further divestment in six countries. In November 2014, Airtel sold 4,800 towers in Nigeria to the American Tower Corporation for $1.05 billion, after its sale of 3,500 towers to Eaton Towers in September 2014.
IHS will be rolling out its renewable energy services across Airtel’s network, with the aim to reduce diesel generator usage.
The company said it has spent $500 million across Africa on power systems to deploy advanced generators and alternative power services. IHS claims that by 2016, up to 80% of its towers will run on hybrid solar services by 2016.