Airtel Africa announced plans to shed 4,500 towers across five countries to aid the company in reducing its $3.5 billion debt, and prepare for upcoming repayment dates.
Bloomberg reported, the operator will sell towers in Tanzania, Madagascar, Gabon, Malwawi and Chad, revealed chief executive officer Raghunath Mandava.
“We are constantly seeking to bring down our debt, and we prefer to bring it down even faster with the tower deals,” he told the news agency. The company will rent the towers back from the buyers, he added.
Airtel Africa is expected to repay 750 million euros ($890 million) in May, and $505 million is due in March 2023, according to the company’s annual report.
The company’s debt once stood at $7.7 billion but was reduced to $3.5 billion, after using proceeds from the company’s dual IPO with former parent company Bharti Airtel, said Mandava. The current debt includes $18 billion in bonds that have cross-default clauses with its biggest shareholder Bharti Airtel.
Airtel Africa reported profit after tax declined at the end of Q2 (ending September 30), taking in $145 million compared to £228 million in the same period last year.