Bharti Airtel Sells Africa Towers to Eaton Following Helios DealGeorge Smith Alexander and Bianca Vázquez Toness
Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest mobile-phone carrier, agreed to sell more than 3,500 telecommunications towers in Africa to Eaton Towers Ltd.
Bharti Airtel will lease back the towers for 10 years, the companies said in an e-mailed press release today. London-based Eaton bought the assets, located in six African countries, for almost $1 billion, said a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the details are private.
The deal may help Bharti Airtel reduce debt which stood at 712.5 billion rupees ($11.8 billion) at the end of June, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The company agreed in July to sell more than 3,000 towers in four African countries to Helios Towers Africa, offloading infrastructure that can be more expensive to maintain compared with other parts of the world.
After the purchase, Eaton Towers will own 5,000 towers in seven African countries, according to the press release. The deal doesn’t include Bharti Airtel’s infrastructure in Nigeria, the person said.
Prem Subedi, a spokesman for Bharti Airtel, and Eaton Towers Chief Executive Officer Alan Harper declined to comment on the exact purchase price. Eaton Towers was advised by Moelis & Co. on the transaction.