Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 April 2020

Zain concludes sale and lease of its Kuwait towers to IHS

The Mauritius-headquartered company is the largest telecoms infrastructure provider in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by number of mobile towers

Zain Group has announced the sale and lease of its 1,620 mobile towers in Kuwait to IHS. Reem Mohammed / The National
Zain Group has announced the sale and lease of its 1,620 mobile towers in Kuwait to IHS. Reem Mohammed / The National

Kuwaiti telecoms operator Zain Group on Wednesday said it completed the sale and leaseback of the physical infrastructure of its 1,620 mobile tower portfolio to Mauritius-headquartered IHS Holding.

The deal, which was completed for $130 million (Dh477.1m), is the first sale and leaseback of telecom towers in the Middle East by a licensed mobile operator, said the telecom company.

“This historical transaction unlocks value for shareholders as it gives us greater flexibility to focus on higher yielding digital investments, 5G expansion and operational efficiencies in Kuwait,” said Bader Al Kharafi, vice-chairman and group chief executive of Zain.

The deal also supports Zain’s transformational strategy in becoming a “digital lifestyle provider through optimising service delivery and enhancing customer experience”, he added.

Founded in Lagos in 2001, IHS specialises in building mobile towers and managing sites for network operators. It is the largest telecoms infrastructure provider in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by number of mobile towers.

“We are delighted to have successfully concluded this transaction with Zain and look forward to a long and successful partnership over the coming years in Kuwait and potentially beyond,” said Sam Darwish, the company’s chairman and group chief executive.

In December, Zain KSA — the Saudi unit of the telecoms operator — announced the termination of a similar agreement with IHS due to regulatory reasons in the kingdom. Last March, Zain KSA had agreed to sell and leaseback infrastructure — including towers, storage and power supply — of its 8,100 mobile tower portfolio to the IHS but the pact was later dismissed.

Updated: February 13, 2020 02:26 PM

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