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Airtel Africa close first tower sale transaction in Tanzania

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Airtel Africa confirms the first closing of the transaction to sell its telecoms tower assets in Tanzania for $176.1 million.

The aforementioned sale is to a joint venture company (the Purchaser) owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation, as majority owner, and by Paradigm Infrastructure Limited.

Under the terms of the transaction, Airtel Africa’s subsidiary in Tanzania will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under separate lease arrangements, largely made in local currencies, with the Purchaser.

Following the first closing, approximately $159 million of the proceeds has now been paid, with the balance payable in instalments once completion of the transfer of remaining towers to the Purchaser is done.

In addition, approximately $60 million from the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the Government of Tanzania, as per the settlement described in the Airtel Africa IPO Prospectus document published in June 2019. The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt at Airtel Group.

At the same time, Bharti Airtel confirmed that following the seminal telecom sector reforms package announced by the Government of India has "significantly boosted the outlook and investor confidence for the industry while simplifying the license framework" and as such is "well positioned to invest aggressively in the emerging growth opportunities offered by India’s digital economy".

In addition, that the company's existing corporate structure is "optimal for leveraging these emerging opportunities" and therefore has withdrawn the new corporate structure announced on April 14 2021.

At the same time, the company will merge its subsidiary Telesonic Networks Limited into Airtel, resulting in consolidation of its fibre assets. Additionally, Nettle Infrastructure Investments Limited will also be merged with Airtel and the company will also pursue its plan to eventually fold the DTH business (Bharti Telemedia) into Airtel to move towards the NDCP vision of converged services to customers.

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