By Etuka Sunday with agency report
Bharti Airtel has sold its 4,800 telecom towers in Nigeria to American Tower Corp for $1.05 billion, as the world’s fourth largest carrier attempts to lower its debt, in a bid to turn around its loss-making operations in the continent.
Airtel though will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a 10-year initial term, the two companies said, in a joint statement.
“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,” Christian de Faria, MD and chief executive officer of Bharti Airtel Africa, said in the statement.
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, the company added.
The companies expect to close the deal during the first half of 2015, they said.
Nigeria is Bharti Airtel’s biggest market in Africa. (Reuters)