Investors commit $420m to African telecom deal

Wendel, the Paris-listed firm, is among a host of investors that have backed a capital increase at IHS Holding, a telecom towers business.

IHS Holding, a Nigeria-headquartered pan-African telecom towers firm, has raised $420 million from an equity capital increase backed by a group of investors.

In a statement, Euronext Paris-listed Wendel said it had exercised its full subscription rights by investing an additional $152 million in IHS, bringing its total investment in the firm to $428 million.

The investment maintains Wendel’s position as the company’s largest shareholder with more than 35 percent of the capital. The statement said the fundraising was based on a pre-money equity value of around $1 billion, which is a 30 percent premium to IHS’ previous capital increase in July 2013.

Existing shareholders Emerging Capital Partners (a pan-African fund manager) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) also backed the latest capital raising, as did three new investors: the IFC’s Global Infrastructure Fund, US investment bank Goldman Sachs and African Infrastructure Investment Managers, the Macquarie Group/Old Mutual Investment Group joint venture.

IHS, which manages over 10,500 telecommunications towers in Africa, has been growing rapidly since it was founded in 2001. “After successfully expanding in Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire in 2013 and announcing the acquisition of telecom towers from MTN in Zambia and Rwanda, IHS is continuing to pursue its business development plan,” said Frederic Lemoine, chairman of Wendel’s executive board, in the statement.

The MTN deal in Zambia and Rwanda involved the acquisition of some 1,228 towers. The latest capital raising will support that deal as well as the firm’s activities in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon, and the re-purchase of minority interests in IHS Nigeria following its delisting from the Lagos Stock Exchange, which is expected to be finalised by the end of March.