Bharti Airtel has raised $1.3 billion through the sale of tower assets across five of its African markets.
The sale forms part of the operator’s previously-announced plan to sell off tower infrastructure in 13 African countries as part of a debt reduction drive. The operator confirmed that divestments in a further 6 markets are currently underway.
“We have completed the sale transactions in five countries, while in two, the agreements have lapsed”, said Airtel in a statement. “For the balance six countries, the process is on and we hope to have finality in the coming few months on the transactions processed.”
Airtel has operations in 17 African countries and originally held 15,000 towers. The sell-off is an increasingly common strategy among operators in the continent, as it is cheaper for bigger providers to lease back infrastructure owned and managed by specialist tower firms.
Last November, the operator struck deals to divest its towers in Malawi and Tanzania to Eaton Towers and Helios Towers respectively, as well as selling American Tower 4800 of its Nigerian towers. Since then, it has sold a further 1100 towers across Rwanda and Zambia.