Sale of 1,228 mobile network towers by MTN Group

10 Jan 2014

Simmons & Simmons has advised long-standing client MTN Group Limited (MTN) on the sale of mobile network towers by its subsidiaries, MTN Rwandacell Limited (MTN Rwanda) and MTN Zambia Limited (MTN Zambia), to IHS Holding (IHS).

Under the terms of the transactions, MTN will sell a total of 1,228 mobile network towers to IHS’s subsidiaries in Rwanda (524 towers) and Zambia (704 towers); financial details of the sale were not disclosed. Under the agreements, IHS will acquire and operate the towers and related passive infrastructure and will invest in a build-to-suit program to support MTN’s future requirements in both countries. MTN Rwanda and MTN Zambia will become the respective anchor tenants on the towers for an initial term of ten years. Each transaction is expected to close independently during the first half of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

The sale of the towers is in line with MTN’s asset optimisation strategy, and builds on two previous deals with IHS in Cameroon and Côté d’Ivoire, for a total of 1,758 towers, on which Simmons & Simmons also advised MTN.

Launched in 1994, MTN is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East. As of 30 September 2013, MTN recorded 203.8 million subscribers across its operations.

The Simmons & Simmons team was led by Paris Corporate partner Christian Taylor, assisted by associates Sophie Coignat (Corporate) and Christine Carbonnel (Real Estate). The ICT aspects of the deal were handled by London partner James Cotter and associate George Morris.

Commenting on the transactions, Christian Taylor: said: ‘‘Our Africa experience spans over 20 years; we have advised on matters involving over 50 of the 54 countries that make up the African continent. MTN is one of Africa’s great “success stories” and we are delighted to act for it on these transactions in Rwanda and Zambia, having advised it on similar transactions last year in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire.”

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