Airtel sells mobile towers in Nigeria to American Towers Company
New Delhi: Bharti Airtel has sold its 4,800 mobile towers in Nigeria to the US-based American Towers Company (ATC) for about USD 1.05 billion to pare debt.
In a joint statement, Airtel and ATC announced that they had entered into an agreement ‘for the sale of over 4,800 of Airtel's communications towers in Nigeria'.
Airtel will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a ten-year initial term, it added.
The agreement has been signed between Bharti Airtel subsidiary Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV (Airtel) and ATC.
ATC, in a statement, said: “The total consideration is expected to be approximately USD 1.05 billion, subject to customary adjustments.”
“We are pleased to announce the launch of our operations in Nigeria while expanding our relationship with Airtel, one of the leading multinational operators in the world,” American Tower President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Taiclet said.
At the end of September, 2014, Airtel had a consolidated debt of Rs.62,215.80 crore.
The deal is expected to be completed in the first-half of 2015. The Indian telecom major is looking to sell off its mobile tower asset in Africa, and focus on telecom services business only.
“Nigeria is the largest mobile market in Africa and a key one for Airtel. This agreement, which is part of our stated philosophy of promoting infrastructure sharing, will provide us with considerable cost efficiencies and at the same time allows us to sharpen our focus on the customer,” Bharti Airtel Africa Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Christian de Faria said.
Airtel initially had about 15,000 mobile towers in Africa. In September, Airtel sold about 3,500 telecom towers to Eaton Towers.
Shares of Bharti Airtel closed 0.52 per cent down at Rs 398.65 on the BSE.