Fund-backed firm buys 2,000 towers in Nigeria

IHS Holding, which is supported by a number of fund managers, has significantly added to its African telecom towers portfolio.

IHS Holding (IHS), a pan-African manager of telecom towers, has agreed to buy an additional 2,136 towers in Nigeria from Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates-based telecommunications service provider.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, means that IHS now manages more than 6,540 towers in Nigeria and more than 12,000 towers in various African countries which also include Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and Rwanda.

Under the terms of the deal – which is expected to complete later this year – IHS has committed to invest $100 million in the acquired towers on advanced generators, efficient batteries and alternative energy solutions to reduce diesel consumption and improve the efficiency of grid use.

IHS’s strategy involves acquiring towers from local operators and then making them available to other operators looking to extend their networks.

Wendel, the Euronext Paris-listed investment firm, is the largest shareholder in IHS with a stake of more than 35 percent. In April this year, it invested a further $47 million in the firm, thereby bringing its total investment to $475 million.

Other investors in IHS include: Emerging Capital Partners, the pan-African fund manager; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); IFC’s Global Infrastructure Fund; US investment bank Goldman Sachs; and African Infrastructure Investment Managers, the Macquarie Group/Old Mutual Investment Group joint venture.