MTN to sell telecoms towers in Nigeria

MTN to sell telecoms towers in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria has announced a bidding process is underway for the sale of its 11,000 telecoms towers in Nigeria, following the lead of MTN and operators in other companies shedding their towers to independent management firms.

HumanIPO reported last week MTN completed the sale of more than 1,200 network towers in Zambia and Rwanda to tower management firm IHS for an undisclosed amount, and MTN Nigeria’s chief financial officer (CFO) Andrew Bing confirmed a similar process is underway in Nigeria.

“There is a bidding process going on, so they’re busy doing a due diligence on us, on our towers, our processes and we’re doing due diligence on them, if they’re the right company,” he said, though he did not disclose the identity of the firm in question.

“During this year that process will then come to a conclusion where there will be a financial bid and a transfer of towers.”

While the company has not announced how much of a stake it would retain in the towers, Bing said this would be determined by the purchasing company.

“There is the need for more towers and there will be, and therefore the towers do become a strategic business going forward, but having a tower to yourself is a costly business. The ability to share those costs is what helps drive profitability,” he said.

There has been a shift among mobile network operators across Africa to leasing mobile towers from independent companies rather than owning them outright.

In January, Nigeria’s Etisalat hired Standard Bank to advise on the sale of its towers, while in July last year Vodacom offloaded 1,149 towers to Helios Towers Tanzania, with reports suggesting the sale was worth US$75 million.

Bharti Airtel may also opt to sell its US$1.8 billion tower business across Africa, according to reports surfacing in November, with Airtel Nigeria saying in February the sale of tower assets would create expert employment.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Posted in: FeaturedTelecoms

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