Helios Towers closed the acquisition of 2,519 passive infrastructure sites from Omantel for US$495 million, its first in the Middle East as part of wider plans to expand in the region.
The tower company acquired 2,519 sites out of the agreed 2,890. Revenues and adjusted EBITDA in the first year of operations with the acquired sites are expected to be US$50 million and US$34 million, respectively, with further growth expected through 300 build-to-suit sites committed over the next seven years, and colocation lease-up.
For the total US$495 million fee, US$206.2 million came from Helios Group funds, of which US$24 million was pre-paid in 2021.
Equity fund Rakiza Telecommunication Infrastructure is a 30% minority shareholder in Helios’ Oman-based holding company, contributing US$88.4 million. The remaining US$200 million came from a local bank loan.
Including capitalised ground leases the acquisition represents an enterprise value of US$515 million, according to Helios.
The remaining 227 sites from Omantel are in-building solutions and are currently subject to regulatory approval for US$53 million. Both companies have set a deadline of May 2024 to finalise this potential acquisition.
In a statement, Helios Towers chief executive Tom Greenwood said: “The transaction represents our first in the Middle East, and we enter one of the fastest growing markets for mobile infrastructure in the region with our valued local partner, Rakiza.
“Since announcing the transaction last year, we have built a talented local team and instilled our business excellence principles, and we now look forward to working with Omantel, a great long-term partner, and the other MNOs to drive the growth of mobile communications across Oman.”
Omantel CEO Talal Said Al-Mamari added the sale aligns with the operator’s strategy to “develop world-class asset-light, strategic and advanced communication networks in Oman.”
Speaking to Developing Telecoms, Greenwood spotlighted Africa and the Middle East as areas for new growth for the tower company, as operators globally eagerly sell off passive assets to fund coverage expansions.