Eaton Towers, the African tower ownership and management company, has secured $60m in debt financing from Standard Bank Group, acting through Stanbic Uganda, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to build and develop new and existing telecom towers across Uganda.
This $60m financing includes a $30m tranche with an 8.5 year maturity from IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. This is marks the first funding for Eaton Towers from IFC, whilst the 8.5 year term is a record for telecom infrastructure providers in the region. The remaining $30m tranche is provided by Stanbic Uganda, for a six-year term.
This is Eaton’s second round of bank debt funding in 2012, following a $30m debt facility from Standard Bank Group, acting through Stanbic Bank Ghana and the Standard Bank of South Africa, earlier in the year. It also follows a $150m equity investment from Capital International Private Equity Funds (“CIPEF”), a private equity investor that focuses on emerging markets, secured by Eaton Towers in September 2011.
Peter Lewis, Chief Financial Officer of Eaton Towers, said: “This latest round of debt funding is a further validation of the Eaton Towers business model and management team, and a clear demonstration of our ability to efficiently leverage our assets across Africa.
“Mobile operators in Africa are increasingly viewing tower sharing as a key strategy to facilitate reductions in operating costs and capex, enabling them to focus on providing mobile services. Eaton Towers is now a leading tower company in Uganda and this funding facility will allow us to further consolidate our position there.”
The capital raised will be put towards funding Eaton’s acquisition of nearly 400 towers from Warid Telecoms in Uganda, announced in January, and to upgrade existing towers and build up to 80 new towers in the country. Eaton Towers also acquired 300 towers from Orange Uganda in January, to give a total of 700 towers and national coverage in Uganda.
Eaton Towers also operates towers in Ghana and South Africa and has recently established offices in Kenya.