Multinational operator Airtel Africa has confirmed what is referred to as the first closing of the transaction to sell its telecoms tower assets in Tanzania for some $176.1 million.
In fact the deal to sell its tower portfolio, part of Airtel Tanzania, was first announced last June, when it was revealed that the sale would be to a joint venture company owned by a wholly owned subsidiary of SBA Communications Corporation, a global independent owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure, as majority owner, and Paradigm Infrastructure, a UK company focused on developing, owning and operating shared passive wireless infrastructure.
As has happened with many deals involving the sale of towers recently, there will be a leasing component to the agreement. Airtel Tanzania will continue to develop, maintain and operate its equipment on the towers under separate lease arrangements, largely made in local currencies, with the purchaser.
According to a statement from Airtel, approximately $159 million of the proceeds has now been paid. The balance will be payable in instalments once completion of the transfer of the remaining towers to the buyer has taken place.
The statement goes on to explain that approximately $60 million from the proceeds will be used to invest in network and sales infrastructure in Tanzania and for distribution to the government. The balance of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt at Airtel Group.