Cellular tower specialist Eaton Towers has won US$$60 million in debt financing to acquire nearly 400 new telecommunications towers in Uganda, giving it around 700 towers in the East African country and nationwide coverage.
The funding secured by Eaton Towers has come from Standard Bank’s Stanbic Uganda unit and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), who have split the funding equally.
It is the company’s second raft of debt financing in 2012, after they received a $30 million debt facility from Standard Bank Group, to build and develop existing and new telecom towers in Ghana. This first round of bank debt financing followed a US$$150 million equity investment into Eaton Towers last September by Capital International Private Equity Funds (CIPEF).
At the time, Peter Lewis, Chief Financial Officer at Eaton, said: “We are delighted to have completed our first bank debt financing with Standard Bank Group. Given our strong deal pipeline and the interest we are seeing from financial and development institutions, we are confident that this will be the first of many such financing deals. This debt facility is an endorsement of our business model and demonstrates our ability to leverage our assets in Africa in a highly efficient way.”
With the latest influx of capital, Eaton will fund the acquisition of nearly 400 new telecom towers from Uganda’s Warid Telecoms. It will also upgrade and build 80 new base stations. The company already purchased 300 towers from Orange Uganda earlier this year.
Alan Harper, CEO Eaton Towers, said: “We now have a leading position in Uganda, combining the two complementary networks of Orange and Warid, which cover the majority of the population. Building on Eaton’s successful operation in Ghana, where our customers include MTN and Airtel, Eaton will offer the best service to the telecoms sector in Uganda so that quality can be improved and coverage can be extended in a cost effective way.”