Home >industry >telecom >Airtel sells towers in Burkina Faso to Eaton, eighth deal this year

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd on Tuesday said it has closed another deal—its eighth such deal this year—for the sale of telecom towers in Africa in an effort to monetize its assets and reduce its debt in the continent.

The world’s fourth largest telecom service provider by revenue and subscribers said that it has signed an agreement to sell and then lease back (for 10 years), its towers in Burkina Faso to Eaton Towers, a telecom tower company in Africa.

Eaton has now bought around 2,500 of Bharti’s telecom towers in four countries, including Ghana, Uganda and Kenya, and another 700 towers in Burkina Faso.

Talks for sale of towers in Malawi to Eaton lapsed earlier this year while talks for sale in one more country are on. So far, Bharti has sold 9,000 of its around 12,500 towers in the continent.

“The tower sale agreements allow Airtel to focus on its core business and customers, to deleverage through debt reduction, and will significantly reduce its on-going capital expenditure on passive infrastructure," Bharti said in a statement.

On October 21, Bharti announced that it had signed a total of seven deals to sell its towers for a total of $1.7 billion. In the 13 African countries where Bharti Airtel was looking to sell its telecom towers, only seven deals have closed; four have lapsed and one is still in the works.

The sales are split between four tower companies in Africa—Eaton Towers Ltd, Helios Towers Africa, IHS Holding Ltd and ATC (American Tower Corporation).

Apart from Eaton, Bharti was in talks with Helios to sell its towers in four countries and has managed to close one deal. The remaining three—in Tanzania, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo—have lapsed.

Deals with IHS for towers in Zambia and Rwanda and ATC in Nigeria have been closed.

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