African tower company IHS raises $2.6B to finance growth

Nigeria-based mobile tower operator IHS Holding raised a total of $2.6 billion (€2 billion) to fund the company's growth, with the capital raise comprising equity of $2 billion and a loan facility of $600 million.

The company said the move represents the largest equity raise in Africa since 2007 and serves to underline the position of IHS "as the largest tower company in EMEA". It said the new $2.6 billion in funding would be used for acquisitions made in the last 12 months, and also for new site build programmes across its footprint.

IHS added that it has now raised a total of $4.5 billion since 2012 and has used the funds to build its market position across Africa--in Nigeria, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Zambia and Rwanda.

"The contribution of our investors significantly strengthens our position and the ability to move into the next phase of growth and development with confidence. We are clear in our ambition to play a leading role in the creation of the widest, most efficient and reliable mobile networks in Africa," said IHS CEO Issam Darwish.

IHS said it will own over 20,000 towers in Africa following the recent acquisitions of MTN and Etisalat's tower portfolios in Nigeria.

MTN said it September it was forming a mobile towers joint venture with IHS for the South Africa-based mobile operator's Nigerian business, with reports estimating the value of the deal at around $2 billion.

At the time, IHS noted that this deal represented its ninth tower transaction and its fifth with MTN following transactions in Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Rwanda and Zambia that took place in 2012 and 2013.

In August, Etisalat Nigeria announced the sale of 2,136 of its towers to IHS as part of a broader strategy to drive improvements in the quality of its network performance and to accelerate roll out of 2G and 3G coverage and new services to its customers.

For more:
- see this IHS release

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