Bharti Airtel to sell 1,350 towers to American Tower Corp

Airtel Tanzania, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel has signed an agreement with American Tower Corp (ATC) to sell around 1,350 communications towers in Tanzania, with a clause to sell additional 100 sites. The additional sites are those currently in development and sales would be for an additional consideration.

The transaction is expected to close during the first half of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

''The proposed transaction is a continuation of our stated philosophy of divesting passive infrastructure assets and promoting sharing of towers to enhance operational efficiencies that will further the overall growth of telecom services. Airtel remains committed to Tanzania and will continue to invest in its operations and serve customers with world-class services,'' said Christian de Faria, MD & CEO (Africa).

Airtel will be the anchor tenant on the portfolio under a lease with a ten-year initial term.

''We are extremely pleased to announce our entry into Tanzania and expand our partnership with Airtel, one of the world's leading multinational network operators,'' said Hal Hess, EVP and President, EMEA, of American Tower. ''With a young, growing population, tremendous growth potential and a complementary location relative to our existing African operations, we view Tanzania as a highly attractive adjacent market opportunity.''

The tower sale agreements allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, besides helping deleverage through debt reduction, and significantly reducing the on-going capital expenditure on passive infrastructure.