Biggest African Phone-Tower Firms Are Said to Plan 2018 IPOs

Three of Africa’s largest telecommunication towers companies plan to pursue share sales in either London or New York early next year, taking advantage of high industry valuations to fund expansion, according to Bloomberg.

Closely-held IHS Towers, targeting an enterprise value of $10 billion, plans to list in New York, said the Bloomberg article, citing unnamed sources. Both Helios Towers Africa LLP and Eaton Towers Ltd. are looking at a valuation of at least $2 billion.  Both will list in London, while Eaton is also considering a secondary listing in Johannesburg.

The planned stock sales are being timed to line up with robust interest among investors for the stable returns and growth offered by tower companies. Tower operator shares are near record highs globally, with many making acquisitions as phone companies offload infrastructure, Bloomberg reported. Spain’s Cellnex Telecom SA has gained 52 percent this year and American Tower Corp. is up 39 percent.

“There is strong demand for tower company assets and similarly investor appetite for emerging market telecom businesses,” said Laura Graves, managing director for Africa at TowerXchange, a networking and advisory group for the tower industry. She said she expects IHS Towers, Helios and Eaton to each list about half of their share capital to bring in new investors.

Helios Towers said in September that it was exploring strategic options, including a potential listing on the London Stock Exchange, though no final decision had been made.

November 28, 2017                               

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