IHS Towers inks $412m MTN South Africa deal

IHS Towers inks $412m agreement with MTN South Africa and closes TIM fibre deal

17 November 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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IHS Towers is to acquire 5,709 telecoms towers in South Africa from MTN for approximately $412 million (ZAR 6.4 billion) in cash.

Under the terms of the agreement, IHS Towers will also provide Power-as-a-Service (PaaS) to MTN at approximately 12,800 sites across South Africa, including the acquired 5,709 sites.

Once completed, the acquired towers as well as the provisions of PaaS across MTN’s portfolio are expected to deliver revenue and Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $220 million (ZAR 3.4 billion) and $80 million (ZAR 1.2 billion), respectively.  Further growth is expected through a multi-year commitment for a portion of MTN’s new towers.

“I am exceptionally proud to announce IHS’ creation of the largest independent tower operator in South Africa, which represents the start of a new chapter in South Africa’s telecommunications infrastructure sector," said Sam Darwish, chairman and CEO, IHS Towers

"The country has a growing population of almost 60 million people and we are committed to utilising our operational expertise to invest in the towers acquired and provide cutting edge power services where necessary. Our long-standing relationship with MTN Group, coupled with our two decades of operation on the African continent and track record of delivering consistently strong network uptime, will enable us to deliver an infrastructure capable of meeting South Africa’s increasingly sophisticated data demands."

Through the Transaction, IHS Towers will become the largest independent tower operator in South Africa, it will also use its operational expertise to invest in new infrastructure helping accelerate the roll-out of new technologies and delivering efficiencies for existing infrastructure.

IHS Towers will own 70% of the South African Towers business with the remaining 30% owned by a B-BBEE consortium.

Our long-standing relationship with MTN Group, coupled with our two decades of operation on the African continent and track record of delivering consistently strong network uptime, will enable us to deliver an infrastructure capable of meeting South Africa’s increasingly sophisticated data demands.

In other news IHS Towers has closed its previously announced transaction with TIM to acquire a controlling interest in FiberCo. The deal includes TIM's secondary fibre network and assets as well as the provision of fibre optic infrastructure services as an Open Fiber Network Service Provider.

As such FiberCo will operate under the name of I-Systems, with IHS now owns a 51% stake in I-Systems and TIM the remaining 49%.

“I am exceptionally proud to announce the closure of this transaction with TIM, which represents the start of an exciting new chapter for IHS in Brazil," added Darwish.

"Since our entrance to Brazil in February 2020, we have been fully committed to supporting the development of the telecommunications landscape in Brazil by bringing cutting edge technology and infrastructure to the region’s largest mobile network operators.

“We are pleased to establish this partnership with IHS to consolidate an innovative business in the Brazilian fibre market," said Pietro Labriola, CEO of TIM.

"I am sure that the new company will have the flexibility and strength to offer the best solutions to customers in Brazil, a country of many dimensions that requires a varied menu of service offerings.”