Industry

American fund buys Kenyan cell tower firm

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A mobile subscriber uses her phone to take a photo of a telecommunication mast in Nyeri town. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

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Summary

  • The companies did not disclose the size of the majority stake being sold to Everstrong Capital, which has offices in the US, Kenya and South Africa and has been targeting deals in energy, water, ICT, transport and healthcare sectors.
  • Under the deal, Everstrong through its local fund dubbed the Kenya Infrastructure Fund will partly inject $12.5 million (Sh1.4 billion) to finance the construction of additional 200 towers.

American private equity fund Everstrong Capital has bought a majority stake in SealTowers Limited, a Kenya-based independent provider of cell towers founded five years ago, the firms announced yesterday.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. The companies did not disclose the size of the majority stake being sold to Everstrong Capital, which has offices in the US, Kenya and South Africa and has been targeting deals in energy, water, ICT, transport and healthcare sectors.

Under the deal, Everstrong through its local fund dubbed the Kenya Infrastructure Fund will partly inject $12.5 million (Sh1.4 billion) to finance the construction of additional 200 towers.

“We believe that the partnership with Everstrong Capital will enable us to tap into massive opportunities in the telecommunications sector in both urban and rural locations,” said SealTowers founder and chief executive Tony Monda in a statement.

“The expansion of 4G and 5G networks will require many more infill tower sites to support networks. In addition, large buildings, malls, commercial and educational institutions provide an opportunity for in-door network solutions and provide expansion opportunities for SealTowers.”

Everstrong earlier announced it had raised $50 million (Sh5.6 billion) from institutional investors targeting infrastructure projects in Kenya and Africa.

“We are excited to announce this investment in SealTowers Limited and look forward to helping expand network access throughout the country,” said Everstrong Capital managing partner Philip Dyk.

Started in 2016, SealTowers targets to build, own, lease, and manage telecommunication towers and infrastructure for Kenyan telcos.

The company says it has running framework, build and lease contracts with five unnamed mobile and internet service providers in Kenya allowing them to host telecommunication equipment on its infrastructure.

Telcos are in a race to expand their coverage of fourth-generation (4G) broadband cellular technology to attract and retain subscribers using smartphones.

Mobile network operators are increasingly moving to lease towers from independent providers who can serve multiple clients, allowing the telcos to cut costs and focus on acquiring and serving subscribers with various services.

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