Helios Towers Plc is set to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in April 2018 seeking over $2 billion. The tower telco, one of the largest in the sub-Saharan region, is going public in order to enable shareholders such as Soros Fund Management LLC to cut down their stakes.
“We want to be positioned well to tap the equity market for funding when and if the right opportunity in terms of expansion and growth comes along. There is [an] opportunity for additional acquisitions in the markets that we operate in with 3,500 towers still owned by our customers,” Kash Pandya, Chief Executive Officer said.
The IPO, which will take place in London and Johannesburg, is expected to dispose of 25 percent of its shares. The telco will not be selling any new stock.
The CEO also explained that the company does not need to raise the cash with the listing immediately hence preparing it for growth and expansion to other countries in the next half-decade.
The book runners for the sale are BofA Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse Standard Bank as joint coordinator and Jefferies International Limited.
Helios Foot Print in Africa
Helios has established its operations in Tanzania, Ghana, DRC, Congo, and Nigeria. Helios is the only independent tower in DRC, Congo and Tanzania. The CEO said that there are plans to build 750 towers by 2020 in Ghana. He also added the company’s current masts are managed by Vodafone Group Plc and Eatons Towers under a contract agreement that will expire soon.
In November, Helios had valued its valuation at nearly $2billion but the company has now changed the figure to about $2.6 billion inclusive of debt.
Other African tower operators that are also planning on launching IPOs in 2018 are IHS Towers and Eaton Towers Limited.
The phone-mast sector in Africa has been growing as consumers cross-over from conventional landline connections to wireless device use.