Airtel to sell, lease back telecom towers in Africa

Airtel to sell, lease back telecom tower
New Delhi, Sep 8: Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel on Monday announced it has signed an agreement to sell its communication towers in six African countries and totalling over 3,500 to Eaton Towers and lease them back.

In a statement here, Bharti Airtel said it has signed an agreement to divest over 3,500 telecom towers in six countries across its African operations to Eaton Towers and lease them back under a 10-year contract.

The Indian company carries out its overseas operations through its subsidiary Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV [BAIN].

The deal in turn would enable Eaton Towers to expand its coverage to seven countries with over 5,000 towers.

"The agreements will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, enable it to deleverage through debt reduction, and will significantly reduce its on-going capital expenditure on passive infrastructure," the statement said.

For Eaton Towers, the acquisition is a major step towards the scale needed to provide shared telecom infrastructure solutions, with its customers benefiting from lower operating costs, expanded network coverage and capacity and improved quality of service, the statement added.

The agreements are subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

According to Manoj Kohli, chairman, BAIN, the agreement with Eaton Towers will lead to better utilisation of passive infrastructure and help drive proliferation of affordable mobile services across Africa.

The statement did not elaborate upon the financial details.


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