Bharti Airtel sells towers in DRC

Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, has divested about 950 telecom towers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to telecom tower company Helios Towers Africa (HTA). The divestment also includes towers currently under construction in DRC.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. HTA is a leading independent telecoms towers company in Africa.

The agreement will allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, while enabling it to deleverage through debt reduction. The deal will significantly reduce Airtel's ongoing capital expenditure on passive infrastructure and also mitigate the proliferation of towers through enhanced sharing, Airtel said in a statement.

''HTA is proud to be chosen by Airtel as its partner for the ownership and management of its existing infrastructure. This is a ground-breaking move for HTA, and Airtel's decision is a significant endorsement of HTA's reputation, management team and operating track record," said Kash Pandya, CEO, Helios Towers Africa.

The agreement is subject to statutory and regulatory approvals in the respective countries.

The deal will expand HTA's tower coverage in Africa to over 6,500 owned towers, while Airtel will have full access to the towers from HTA under a long term lease contract.

''The agreement is in line with our stated philosophy of divesting passive infrastructure and promoting sharing of towers to enhance operational efficiencies that will further the growth of telecom services. Airtel remains committed to DRC and will continue to invest in its operations and serve customers with world-class services," said Christian De Faria, Executive Chairman, Bharti Airtel International Netherlands BV (BAIN).