Washington, DC/Accra, Ghana, January
12, 2011 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced
a $25 million equity investment in Helios Towers Africa Limited (HTA) to
help the company build and maintain mobile phone towers in several countries
across sub-Saharan Africa, increasing mobile phone coverage and reducing
communication costs in the region.
HTA is building a pan-Africa tower company starting in Ghana and expanding
into other countries such as Tanzania. The company leases space on its
mobile towers to telecom companies, helping widen access to mobile telephony,
and other communications technologies, bringing new opportunities, including
voice services, market information, financial services, and health services,
to developing countries in Africa.
Helios CEO, Charles Green, said, “IFC understands the unique needs of
growing companies in Africa’s telecoms sector and has provided us with
a finance package that will allow us to continue our role as the leading
independent tower company in Africa, expanding and providing benefits to
mobile operators and users in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Bernard Sheahan, IFC Director of Infrastructure & Natural Resources
in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “Broadening access to
affordable mobile telecommunications services remains a crucial part of
development across Africa. With this investment, IFC is further lowering
the barriers to accessing the knowledge, innovation, and improved government
and business services that mobile communications can bring.”
The reduced costs of leasing towers gives new, smaller companies access
to existing tower facilities and allows larger operators to expand into
remote areas that would normally by unprofitable. Lower tower costs
should result in enhanced service offerings and declining mobile prices
for African consumers.
HTA was established by Helios Investment Partners in 2009 to replicate
the success achieved by its affiliate, Helios Towers Nigeria, which in
2005 became the first independent tower company in Africa. In 2010, HTA
formed Helios Towers Ghana Limited to purchase and lease back approximately
750 towers in Ghana to mobile operator Millicom, the first transaction
of its kind in Africa.
The company recently announced that it will acquire an additional 1,020
sites from Millicom in Tanzania.
The investment follows IFC’s 2009 investment in Helios Towers Nigeria,
where IFC made available $250 million in syndicated loans, mezzanine financing
and senior debt, allowing the company to build, maintain, and lease space
on its network of telecommunications towers in Nigeria.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create
opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do
so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply
essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering
advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global
economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion
in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About Helios Towers Africa
Helios Towers Africa was founded by Helios Investment Partners LLP, Quantum
Strategic Partners Limited, an affiliate of Soros Fund Management LLC,
RIT Capital Partners plc and Lord Rothschild’s family interests, and Albright
Capital Management to meet the infrastructure needs of wireless service
providers by developing, owning and leasing communication towers in sub-Saharan
For more information, visit www.heliostowersafrica.com.