Bharti, Helios confirm towers deal

ACCRA: BHARTI, the global telecommunications services provider, and Helios Towers Africa (HTA) the leading independent telecommunications firm, have announced an agreement for the divestment of more than 3 000 towers between them.

The divestment of Airtel’s 3 100 towers to HTA in four countries across African operations will expand HTA’s tower coverage in Africa to over 7 800 owned towers.

According to the firms, the landmark deal would help Airtel deleverage through debt reduction and reduced ongoing capital expenditure.

The agreements while allowing Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, would also enable it to deleverage through debt reduction, and would significantly reduce its ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.

The agreement is subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

Commenting on the development, Manoj Kohli, Chairman of Bharti Airtel International Netherlands BV (BAIN), said the agreement is another milestone in Airtel’s growth journey in Africa.

“Airtel pioneered the concept of a separate tower entity to promote infrastructure sharing in India and this agreement is a continuation of that philosophy.

“It is an important step towards the consolidation of tower assets across Africa that will drive industry-wide cost efficiencies through infrastructure sharing,” he said.

“The agreement will further help in accelerating the growth of telecom services in the Continent and at the same time benefit the environment by avoiding duplication of infrastructure,” Kohli said.

Chuck Green, Chief Executive Officer of HTA, said HTA was proud to be chosen by Airtel as its partner for the ownership and management of its existing infrastructure.

“This is a ground-breaking move for HTA and Airtel’s decision is a significant endorsement of HTA’s reputation, management team and operating track record,” he said.