Telecoms

Another U-turn in Helios Towers’ London listing bid

Read time 2min 20sec
Helios Towers operates phone masts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.
Helios Towers operates phone masts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.

African telecoms operator Helios Towers has rekindled plans to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

In March last year, the company ditched its bid to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in London which was expected to value the business at about £2 billion. No reasons were given for the decision.

In a statement today, Helios Towers says it is looking to raise $125 million through the issuance of new shares, in addition to the sale of existing shares by shareholders including the International Finance Corporation and telecom firms Millicom and Bharti Airtel.

Helios Towers operates phone masts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.

The company entered the South African market through a partnership with Vulatel in January, saying it “expects to make major greenfield wireless and fixed-line telecoms infrastructure investments in South Africa”.

The independent telecoms tower infrastructure company said the agreement with Vulatel will create a South African infrastructure platform, Helios Towers South Africa, which will build out wireless and fixed line open-access infrastructure in the country.

“I have closely followed the Helios Towers story and am excited by the opportunity to lead a new board in the next stage of the group’s evolution,” says Samuel Jonah, chair for Helios Towers.

“As I experienced during my time on the board of Vodafone Group, telecommunications infrastructure lies at the heart of development in Africa, and Helios Towers brings significant expertise operating in these rapidly developing markets.

“The group is well placed to capitalise on infrastructure opportunities in some of the fastest growing markets in the world, to the benefit of shareholders and local communities alike.”

Kash Pandya, CEO of Helios Towers says: “The sub-Saharan Africa telecommunications market is and will continue to be one of the most exciting and high growth in the world.

“The underlying demographic and macro-economic trends are compelling: a young, growing and increasingly urbanised population whose demand for high quality mobile voice and data services continues unabated, which is being further fuelled by expansion of 3G and 4G services and one day 5G services; and GDP growth that across our markets is expected to be 4.5 % per annum to 2024.”

For the year ended 31 December 2018 and the six months ended 30 June 2019, 86.7%. and 86.5% of the Helios’ group’s revenue, respectively, was attributable to MNO operating subsidiaries of five of the largest MNO holding companies in sub-Saharan Africa (Airtel, MTN, Orange, Tigo and Vodacom.

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