Standard Bank Group has completed a $95-million equivalent upsizing of the syndicated term loan facilities for Helios Towers Tanzania (HTT), a subsidiary of Helios Towers Africa Ltd (HTA), to finance the next phase of expansion of its network of telecommunications towers across Tanzania.
Over the last five years, HTT has grown its operations and built a robust track record of operational excellence and client-focused service.
The financing benefitted from the extensive lender support for HTT from local and international financial institutions established through its previous syndicated loan. The lending syndicate demonstrates the ability of African focused banks and institutions to finance large and cross-border transactions and included the following institutions:
* The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited as Global Coordinator;
* Stanbic Bank Tanzania Limited, Dutch development finance bank FMO, Investec Bank Limited, National Micro Finance Bank Plc and The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund Limited as Mandated Lead Arrangers;
* The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited as Facility Agent.
Tower sales and lease-backs, which bring significant capital expenditure and operating cost savings, improved network quality and enhanced coverage for mobile operators, have become a critical contributor to the growth of the telecommunications sector in in Africa. A significant number of large tower portfolios have now been sold to independent tower companies across the continent in recent years.
HTT has built a leading market position in Tanzania which is home to a fast growing mobile telecommunications sector, with more than 36 million mobile subscribers as of December 2015, growing at an annual rate of 14%. The recent launch of a new entrant in the mobile sector bodes well for HTT’s future business as demand for new tower leases from all mobile operators continues to grow.
Kash Pandya, CEO of Helios Towers Africa, comments: “Helios Towers Africa is pleased to announce the completion of this financing package in Tanzania while we continue our growth as a successful independent tower business across Africa. The continued support of our lenders reemphasises the appetite of investors for this market, and we thank them for their continuing backing. The new facility in Tanzania will help us expand tower sharing solutions across the country and meet new demand for tower sharing, benefiting both the citizens and the environment.”
Nina Triantis, Standard Bank’s global head of telecoms and media, adds: “Standard Bank is delighted to collaborate with HTA again, this time with a new debt facility for HTT, the leading independent tower company in Tanzania. The Company’s reputation for operational excellence and client-focused service make any investor and customer confident in their growth and outlook. This transaction demonstrates once again our continued support to infrastructure development in Africa through our excellent understanding and serving of the needs of our clients due to our sector knowledge and our on-the-ground presence in 20 sub-Saharan countries.”