Helios Towers DRC

Debt : December 2013 - March 2017

BIO has given a USD 14 M loan to Helios Towers DRC Infraco, which builds and maintains telecommunication towers in the DRC to lease space on those towers to international mobile operators on a long term basis.

Amount

€ 10,592,199.71

Type of investment

Debt

Development impacts

  • Local economic growth
  • Private sector consolidation/innovation
  • Access to basic services & goods

Beneficiary locations

Sub-Saharan Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo

Investment field

Infrastructure

Activity

Telecom tower company

Organisation

Helios Towers DRC

Domicile

DRC

Helios Towers DRC Infraco SPRL (HTD), was incorporated in the DRC in 2010 to purchase, modernize, expand and operate a portfolio of telecommunication towers in DRC. The DRC is one of the largest African markets (population > 70m) with among the lowest telecom penetration rates (ca. 28%) also in the African context.

HTD builds and maintains telecommunications towers in the DRC in order to lease space on those towers to international mobile operators on a long term basis.

In October 2011 HTD acquired a portfolio of 728 telecom towers from Millicom’s subsidiary Oasis SPRL (operating under the brand name “Tigo”). Tigo is the main customer of HTD (anchor tenant) and hence securing stable cash flows on the basis of long-term off-take agreements.

Congo’s penetration rate is among the lowest in Africa: countries such as Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria reach penetration levels of 50-110%. Reasons for low penetration in DRC are slow development, low purchase power and the huge distances (2.800 km from east to west and 3.500 km from north to south).

Development impacts

  • Local economic growth

    Improved infrastructure for SMEs: HTD will be building a tower network that is capable of supporting not only mobile cellular networks, but also wireless broadband and backhaul networks, thereby improving the penetration of these technologies.

    Government revenue: HTD will be a strong generator of profits and pay in average approx. USD 6.3 m yearly in income tax in the coming 5 years.

  • Private sector consolidation/innovation

    Market structuring effects: Coverage of so far insufficiently supplied areas or groups
    With the construction of additional tower sites, existing mobile operators will be able to expand the reach of their services both in terms of geography and capacity. In addition, collocation reduces the incremental cost of expanding service for all carriers thereby allowing them to service remote and economically less developed areas where ARPU and usage will be lower.

  • Access to basic services & goods

    Tower network expands access to mobile telephony but also of wireless broadband.

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