Bharti to sell over 4,800 telecom towers in Nigeria for $1 billion

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel has sold over 4,800 telecom towers in Nigeria to American Tower Corporation, a joint statement by the companies said here Monday.

According to a filing by American Tower in the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the deal size is approximately $1.05 billion.

"On Nov 24, 2014, the company issued a joint press release with Bharti Airtel Limited announcing the entry into a definitive agreement, through Bharti Airtel Limited's subsidiary company, Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV, under which the company will acquire over 4,800 of Airtel's communications towers in Nigeria. The total consideration is expected to be approximately $1.05 billion, subject to customary adjustments," the filing said.

Airtel, however, will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a 10-year initial term, the joint statement said.

"The agreement 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 expenditures on passive infrastructure in Nigeria," it added.

American Tower and Airtel expect to close the acquisition during the first half of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

"We are pleased to announce the launch of our operations in Nigeria while expanding our relationship with Airtel, one of the leading multinational operators in the world," said Jim Taiclet, chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of American Tower.

"With the largest population and economy in Africa and relatively underdeveloped wireless infrastructure, we view Nigeria as a tremendous growth opportunity. Further, we expect this investment to support our long-term objective of generating double-digit AFFO per share growth for our stockholders," he added.

"Nigeria is the largest mobile market in Africa and a key one for Airtel. This agreement, which is part of our stated philosophy of promoting infrastructure sharing, will provide us with considerable cost efficiencies and at the same time allows us to sharpen our focus on the customer.

"American Tower has a proven track record in passive infrastructure management and we look forward to benefiting from the best practices from all other countries it operates in," said Christian de Faria, managing director and CEO of Bharti Airtel Africa.

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Updated Date: Nov 25, 2014 08:51:16 IST