The U.S. government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has made the initial disbursement of a $250 million loan to Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited, based in Yangon, Myanmar. The disbursement marks OPIC’s first financing in the country as well as a historic milestone in public-private cooperation. Investors TPG Growth, Tillman Global Holdings, and Myanmar Investments International Limited facilitated the loan process and will continue to partner with Apollo on its expansion, the companies said in a joint announcement on June 15.
The OPIC financing allows Apollo to continue to grow its tower network and provide voice and data coverage to many areas of the country. Apollo has built approximately 1,800 towers since launching operations in 2014 and plans to build more than 2,000 additional towers in its next phase of development. Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited (Apollo) tower construction has helped accelerate Myanmar’s mobile phone penetration rate from 5 percent to more than 75 percent in the last two years.
“OPIC is pleased to be working with Apollo on this first, important investment in Burma,” OPIC President/CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said. “Telecommunications are a critical part of ongoing development across the world, and through this project, OPIC is looking to have a significant impact on those who previously lacked access to telecommunications coverage in the country.”
“Apollo has been able to capitalize on a buoyant demand for mobile and telecommunications services, working closely with global network operators such as Telenor and Ooredoo, as well as locally based Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT). This watershed OPIC financing, a unique collaboration between the private and public sectors, helps expand the critical infrastructure needed to bring telecommunications services to a larger portion of the Myanmar population,” said Sanjiv Ahuja, Founder of Apollo and Founder and Chairman of Tillman Global Holdings.