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Premier African Tower Operator Helios Raises $364 Million in Low-key IPO

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by Christopher Hamman · 3 min read
Premier African Tower Operator Helios Raises $364 Million in Low-key IPO
Photo: Helios Towers / LinkedIn

Helios Towers Raises about $364 million in its Initial Public Offering which has been low-key due to choppy market conditions.

Helios Towers which is one of the key operators of towers for several mobile networks across Africa has successfully raised about 288 million pounds (or $364 million) in an initial public offering. It’s worth mentioning that IPO was delayed last year due to concerns on political tensions in key markets where the tower operator has core operations.

The offering which though was supposed to be valued at $500 million was well-received in a season of low-key offerings and others which have been delayed due to the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. This has also been occurring due to the unpredictable nature of the African business operating environment. 

With billionaire George Soros backed company having the initial pricing of its shares at 115 pence, the markets heaved a sigh of relief that at the end of the first day of trading the markets settled with the shares at 116 pence. This indicates the market’s apathy after Airtel Africa previously lost about 40% of its shares after its IPO.

Shareholders who owned shares before the IPO sold off their holdings which buoyed prices slightly and aided the company’s valuation to rise to 1.115 billion pounds. The list of major shareholders included Millicom International Cellular SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. 

With over 6,000 towers spread across Africa in about five countries, Helios has been at the edge in rolling out the Fourth-Generation mobile internet services in the continent. With major clients such as MTN Africa Group Ltd, Vodacom Group Ltd., and Airtel Africa, the tower operator and several others had reached out to the global financial markets for financing sources but it is only Helios that went the way of the IPO. 

IHS Towers raised about $1.3 billion worth of debts from the debt securities market and Eaton Tower Corp is in the process of being acquired by American Tower Corp. This indicates that the London markets from now till up to eighteen months or more post-Brexit will be extremely choppy but will also provide an opportunity for the true risk-takers who understand that choppy markets offer the best opportunities for raising capital due to the reticence of others.

This of course also indicates that more concerns are going to rise if the Tower operator fails to pull through despite having a massive profit-making opportunity which many communications-related organizations don’t have in developing nations.

Other issues that are affecting the London market are the recent mild downswings in the broader European economies which give the investors and companies seeking to raise capital. With the IPO having earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization with a core valuation of 8.5, the tower operator seems to be in a strong position as sources have indicated that it will use the capital raised for expansion into new markets in which it hitherto had not had any access to.

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Christopher Hamman

Christopher Haruna Hamman is a Freelance content developer, Crypto-Enthusiast and tech-savvy individual. He is also a Superstar Content Developer, Strategy Demigod, and Standup Guy.

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