Helios Towers Africa has issued its maiden corporate bond, taking advantage of buoyant African debt capital markets since the start of 2017 to collect $600 million.
The senior notes, which have a final maturity of five years and pay a 9.125 percent coupon, were listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.
“This groundbreaking capital raise will allow us to consolidate our sources of finance, invest in our towers’ infrastructure and fund the acquisition of the remaining minority in the group’s operating companies,” said Kash Pandya, chief executive of HTA Group, the Helios Towers subsidiary that conducted the fundraise.
The company is backed by Helios Investment Partners, Quantum Strategic Partners, Albright Capital Management, RIT Capital Partners, the International Finance Corporation and Millicom. The transaction was led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard Bank and Standard Charter Bank.
The news comes at a time of stronger investor appetite for emerging markets, but also in the aftermath of acquisitions by the firm. Last May, Helios Towers purchased about 950 telecom towers from Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The deal, which pushed Helios’ unit count in Africa to more than 6,500 masts, came after it raised $95 million to finance the expansion of its network in Tanzania, a market in which it bills itself as the largest operator and which it says is growing at an annual rate of 14 percent.
Pandya said Helios Towers has seen its number of tenancies grow 60 percent over the last two years, with 52 million new subscribers forecast by 2022.