Helios Towers, the independent telecommunications infrastructure company, has acquired 1,200 sites from Free Senegal – the second-largest mobile operator in Senegal for €160M.
Helios Towers will acquire the towers for €160 million in cash at an an enterprise value of €178m including an estimated €18m of taxes and capitalised ground leases. Helios Towers competitor IHS is set to IPO in London.
According to Kash Pandya, Chief Executive of Helios Towers, “This agreement is aligned perfectly with our 2025 strategic ambitions, broadening our footprint within the African towers infrastructure market. We are acquiring a market-leading independent position in Senegal with long-term contracted revenues and a clear path to value creation through additional organic tower development, uplifts in the tenancy ratio and improved operational effectiveness, all built on the foundation of 15-year contracts. We look forward to working with Free Senegal and the other MNOs over the coming years to further develop mobile infrastructure in Senegal.”
The firm expects to invest Deferred consideration and growth capex of €40m ($47m) and c.€30m ($35m) respectively are expected to be invested over the next 5 years in relation to the rollout of 400 committed new build-to-suit sites.
The two have entered into a 15-year service agreement for the provision of hosting and energy services on the acquired sites and the sites to be built in the future.
Through this Transaction Helios Towers will become the largest independent tower infrastructure provider in Senegal with 1,220 sites. These assets are expected to initially deliver run-rate revenues of €32 million and run-rate adjusted EBITDA of €16 million.
The net profit before tax generated by the assets to be acquired in this Transaction as at 31 December 2019 was €11 million.
Similar to Helios Towers other markets, Senegal represents a compelling market for telecoms with its combination of a young, growing and increasingly urbanised population plus high GDP growth, as well as benefitting from a hard currency Euro-pegged environment. These dynamics will continue to drive increasing demand for mobile communications and consequently the infrastructure supporting it.
Helios Towers’ intention is to materially increase the tenancy ratio of the tower portfolio over time and bring to bear the benefits of its highly effective operating processes and disciplines, all of which have been key a feature of the Group’s value creation strategy over the past 10 years.
It is anticipated that the Transaction will close by Q1 2021 subject to customary completion conditions and regulatory approval. The Transaction will be fully financed by Helios Towers existing cash and debt facilities and it is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings.
“We are very pleased to partner with Helios Towers through the acquisition of our passive infrastructure portfolio and new long term service agreement,” said Mamadou Mbengue, Chief Executive of Free Senegal. “The transaction will allow Free Senegal to further expand its network mobile coverage in Senegal.”