10 November 2016
Templars has acted as Nigerian counsel to IHS Netherlands Holdco B.V. in connection with its US$800 million high-yield Eurobond issuance, the largest ever high-yield Eurobond offering by an African-based issuer.
IHS Netherlands Holdco B.V. is the holding company of IHS Nigeria Limited, the Nigerian subsidiary of IHS Holding Limited, which is the largest mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
The proceeds of the bonds are to be used to refinance existing indebtedness of IHS Nigeria Limited and IHS Towers NG Limited and to fund the rollout of new towers by the group. The transaction incorporates the tender of the outstanding 8.375% US$250m bond issued in 2014 by IHS Towers Netherlands FinCo NG B.V. (formerly known as Helios Towers Finance Netherlands B.V.) which became a part of the IHS Group following the group’s acquisition of Helios Towers Nigeria Limited in June 2016.
IHS Nigeria, IHS Towers NG Limited and Towers Infrastructure Company Limited, all Nigerian companies within the IHS Group, acted as guarantors of the bond. Citibank Global Markets Limited, Goldman Sachs International and Standard Chartered Bank in turn acted as Joint Lead Managers on the landmark transaction which was one of only two Eurobond issuances undertaken in 2016 by Nigerian-based corporates.
The Templars team on the transaction was led by finance partner Chike Obianwu and managing counsel Desmond Ogba, with support from associates Simisola Folarin, Ann Ofili, Anita Omonuwa and Nneoma Mbelede.
According to Chike Obianwu, “We are very pleased to have once again played a key role in bringing a major African telecommunications infrastructure provider to the market, after having played the role of issuer’s counsel on the 2014 debut Eurobond issue by Helios Towers (now IHS Towers Netherlands FinCo). The Helios Towers deal made history back in 2014 for being the first such issue by a non-commodities, non-financial services industry issuer from Sub-Saharan Africa, and for attracting the lowest coupon for a debut issue by a Nigerian-based issuer. Like the Helios Towers issue before it, the new IHS issue has in turn made history for being the largest ever high-yield bond offering by an African issuer.”