Helios Towers is acquiring the passive infrastructure assets of Senegal’s number two mobile player Free Senegal for US$188.2 million.
Through this transaction, Helios Towers will become the largest independent tower infrastructure provider in Senegal with 1,220 sites. Free Senegal is backed by a consortium of investors including Teyliom Group, Sofima and NJJ, a private holding company owned by Iliad SA founder Xavier Niel.
Helios Towers and Free Senegal 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. Across the next five years, the firms expect to deploy 400 new sites, investing a total of US$82 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.
The deal is expected to close by Q1 2021, subject to customary completion conditions and regulatory approval.
Kash Pandya, Chief Executive of Helios Towers said: "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.”
Mamadou Mbengue, Chief Executive of Free Senegal added: "The transaction will allow Free Senegal to further expand its network mobile coverage in Senegal by partnering with the leading tower company in the region. We look forward to working closely with them in the future as a service partner of choice as we both look to further improve mobile connectivity and infrastructure for the Senegalese people and aligned with the digital plan for the country, Senegal 2025.”