23 March 2016
Templars advises Helios on the sale of Helios Towers Nigeria Limited (“HTN”) to IHS Holding Limited, the largest mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The transaction represents the first consolidation of mobile infrastructure companies on the African continent.
According to Fitch Ratings, “…the acquisition would lead to a stronger market position in Nigeria for the enlarged entity. Fitch expects HTN to continue growing strongly, in line with the telecommunications market in Nigeria, which is seeing rapidly increasing demand for mobile and broadband.”
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission. It is expected that the acquisition will enhance competition in the passive infrastructure sector of the telecommunications industry.
“We are extremely pleased to have closed another market leading transaction with HTN on this acquisition,” said Obianwu. “Our work on this transaction follows in the footsteps of our work as counsel to HTN on its debut US$ 250 Million Eurobond issuance as well as our work on such other significant telecommunication sector transactions as American Tower Corporation’s acquisition in 2015 of over 4,800 towers from Airtel.”
The HTN Eurobond was the first of its kind in the Nigerian telecommunications industry and also the first such issue on the Eurobonds market by a Nigerian issuer outside the financial services or natural resource sector; while ATC’s $1.05 billion acquisition of over 4,800 towers was one of the most significant tower acquisitions in Nigeria, promoting infrastructure sharing while also allowing Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, besides helping deleverage through debt reduction, and significantly reducing ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.