Kuwait’s Zain inks $165m mobile towers deal
Mobile Telecommunications Company, better known as Zain, has announced it has entered into definite agreements to sell and leaseback its mobile tower portfolio in Kuwait for $165 million.
The deal with IHS Holding Limited (IHS), in partnership with Towershare Management Limited, will result in the formation of a new entity that will acquire and manage Zain’s tower assets in Kuwait, with Zain assuming a minority shareholding in this newly formed entity.
The transaction has been approved by Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA), and is still subject to other regulatory and statutory approvals. It is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.
IHS is the largest independent tower operator in Europe, Middle East and Africa by tower count and the third largest independent multinational tower company globally.
Zain, which has more than 1,600 mobile telecommunication towers across Kuwait, said the transaction will enable it to focus on its core business.
Under the terms of the transaction, Zain is selling only its passive, physical infrastructure to the new company, and will retain its intelligent software, technology and intellectual property with respect to managing its network, it added in a statement.
Upon completion, the transaction will be the first sale and leaseback of telecom towers in the Middle East region by a licensed mobile operator, and creates the first independent tower operator of scale in the region.
Bader Al-Kharafi, vice-chairman and Group CEO of Zain said: “This deal will unlock value that can be more efficiently deployed in new technologies and higher yielding investments for Zain, and at the same time pave the way for further network expansion and tower infrastructure sharing in Kuwait.”