Helios Towers Revive IPO Plans, Listing Valuated at About $3 Billion

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Helios Towers, a market-leading telecom tower infrastructure company in sub-Saharan Africa, is reviving plans for an initial public offering valued at about $3 billion.

Speaking on the development, a source confirmed to Bloomberg that the company’s advisers are resuming preparations for an IPO.

network boosters are used to boost telecom signals
network boosters are used to boost telecom signals

According to the source, Helios Towers are considering the share sale before the year ends. However, the owners of Tower are still looking at London or Johannesburg as possible listing venues.

Founded in 2009, Helios Towers is owned by telecom firms Millicom and Bharti Airtel including Albright Capital Management and Soros Fund Management, which owns more than 20%.

In March 2018, Helios Towers announced its plans for an initial public offering in London IPO in April. The listing was a play to let shareholders such as Soros Fund Management LLC reduce their stakes by adding an IPO valued at about $2.8billion at the time.

With little explanations, Helios quickly ditched its plans to list. The company, however, said it received considerable interest from institutional investors but its shareholders had decided to retract the planned listing.

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According to CrunchBase, a total of about $993M in funds has been invested in Helios Towers. A listing in either London or Johannesburg IPO would add to the $1.8 billion of IPOs by telecom related companies since the beginning of the year.

In January, Helios Towers launched investment into SA by signing an agreement with the South African tower company, SA Towers. The deal gave Helios a controlling interest in the business of SA Towers.

Although, no final decision has been made on the listing, if Helios go through with their plans of listing, it could help further expansions of the company’s investment in Africa significantly.

The number of mobile subscribers in Africa has multiplied exponential from 16M in 2000 to over 500M today. Evaluating the growth, an IPO boost for Helios could be what it needs to lead the charge of creating needed telecom facilities in Africa.  

Helios currently has more than 6,700 towers spread across five African countries. At the moment, their serving customers include major mobile network operators Airtel Africa Plc, MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd.


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