América Móvil take tower spin-off plan to shareholders

13 September 2021 | Melanie Mingas

Cover

To spin or not to spin? América Móvil is to ask its shareholders for their approval on the sale of its tower assets.

The sale – first proposed and approved by the board in February – would create a new, independent and public company. According to a stock exchange filing on Friday, it will be proposed to shareholders in an extraordinary meeting on September 29.

On 9 February, América Móvil said its board of directors had approved a plan to spin-off telecommunications towers and "other related passive infrastructure" in the Latin American countries where it currently operates. Headquartered in Mexico City, these markets include Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

The new business would focus on the development, construction and locations of the towers for mobile services. In total the deal could involve 35,000-37,000 towers across the region, with expectations for it to complete this year.

Telefonica sold Telxius – its tower unit in Latin America and Europe – to American Tower in January, raising $9.4 billion and inflating its share price by 8.7% on the day the deal closed.

As Capacity reported, the €7.7bn spin off saw American Towers take on the 31,000-site Telxius portfolio and lease it back to Telefonica. Around the same time American Tower committed to spend approximately $500 million constructing a "committed pipeline" of 3,300 new sites in Germany and Brazil by 2025.

Following the trend, in March Airtel Africa said it would sell 2,227 towers to Helios Towers in four markets while Airtel Tanzania committed to sell 1,400 towers for $175 million.

This was followed in April by the news that IHS Holding Limited would acquire Centennial Towers’ Brazilian and Colombian operations. while in May Helios Towers acquired Omantel’s tower assets for $575m. Then in June Telia Company sold its Nordic towers business for €722 million.

Meanwhile in Asia, the recently formed EdgePoint has secured more than 10,000 sites across Indonesia and Malaysia and is considering further expansion and growth opportunities in the region. Finally, over the last month Telkomsel has divested 4,000 cell towers to Mitratel and Veon has sold its Russian tower assets to Service-Telecom for $970 million.

On the Digital Digest this week, Helios Towers' CEO, Kash Pandya will be talking about the trend in detail.