Home » Ghanaian mogul Samuel Jonah’s Helios Towers acquires 723 tower sites in Malawi from Airtel Africa

Ghanaian mogul Samuel Jonah’s Helios Towers acquires 723 tower sites in Malawi from Airtel Africa

by Omokolade Ajayi

Helios Towers, an Africa-focused independent telecom infrastructure group led by Ghanaian businessman Samuel Jonah, has completed the $55-million acquisition of Airtel Africa‘s passive infrastructure company’s tower assets in Malawi.

The deal, which marks Helios Towers’ first transaction in Malawi, is valued at $55 million, and it will add 723 sites to its portfolio from Airtel Africa, one of Africa’s largest telecom companies.

The transaction also represents its third deal with Airtel Africa in five months, as the Africa-focused telecom infrastructure group seeks to diversify its tower assets across the continent to strengthen its earnings power through organic portfolio expansion, multiple acquisitions and continued investment in its teams and platform.

The Jonah-led telecom infrastructure group revealed that Old Mutual Infrastructure Investment Trust Fund funded 20 percent of the $55-million gross consideration for the Malawian tower assets, representing a local Malawian shareholding of 20 percent, in accordance with the previously disclosed local telecom infrastructure license requirements.

Helios Towers and Airtel Africa have also entered into a 12-year service agreement for the acquired assets, which are expected to generate $23 million in revenue and $8 million in adjusted EBITDA in the first full year of ownership, in line with prior communications.

Under the terms of the deal, Airtel Africa’s subsidiary in Malawi will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers through separate lease arrangements with the purchaser, primarily in local currencies.

Helios Towers is a leading independent telecom infrastructure group with one of Africa’s largest tower portfolios.

Under the leadership of Jonah, the group owns and operates telecom tower sites in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Madagascar and now in Malawi.

Its tower sites increased by a record 2,204 year-on-year to 9,560 sites at the end of 2021, up from 7,356 sites in 2020, reflecting 507 organic site additions and the acquisition of 1,697 sites during the year.

As a result of the portfolio and new market expansion in 2021, the group is now targeting organic tenancy additions of between 1,200 and 1,700 in 2022, reflecting continued momentum in the group’s established markets and organic growth in its new markets, Madagascar and Senegal.

In addition to its expansion plans, Helios Towers anticipates spending $650 million on acquisitions in 2022, which will include acquisitions in Oman and Malawi, as well as deferred acquisition payments in Senegal and Madagascar.

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