​Etisalat hires Standard Bank for Nigeria tower sale

January 16, 2014 - 9:07:27 am

DUBAI: Etisalat, the Gulf’s top telecom operator, has hired Standard Bank as an adviser for the planned sale of transmitter towers by its Nigerian affiliate, three banking sources aware of the matter said.

Etisalat Nigeria is considering a sale of its towers in a deal that could raise about $400m, Reuters reported in October. 

Etisalat did not respond to an email seeking comment, while Standard Bank declined to comment. 

Johannesburg-based Standard Bank, Africa’s largest lender, has been hired due to its local presence and expertise in the African country, two of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public.

Building and maintaining mobile towers in Africa is typically more expensive than in other regions because of  security costs and electricity shortages, that often require towers to be powered by generators, while new roads may need to be built to reach rural areas.  

This has increasingly prompted operators to seek to sell or lease towers to specialist firms such as Eaton Towers, Helios Towers Africa, American Tower Corp and IHS.

In December, MTN Group, Africa’s largest telecom, agreed to over 1,200 mobile towers in Rwanda and Zambia to IHS, as part of a strategy to dispose of some of its infrastructure to focus on products and services. 

Standard Bank is in the process of helping identify potential buyers for the business, the sources said.