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Airtel Africa to sell its 4,500 tower assets to cut down $3.5 billion debts

Airtel Africa has concluded plans to sell about 4,500 telecommunication towers across 5 countries.

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Airtel partners Western Union to expand its own mobile money service , Airtel loses over 100,000 subscribers in one month as Glo chases MTN's market share cvf

Airtel Africa Plc – the parent company of Airtel Nigeria Plc, has concluded plans to sell about 4,500 telecommunication towers across 5 countries including Tanzania and Madagascar to help reduce $3.5 billion of debt and prepare for looming bond repayments.

Africa’s second-largest carrier by subscribers, with headquarters in London, is also disposing of cellular masts in Gabon, Malawi, and Chad.

READ: FG set to provide interest-free loans and agricultural inputs to farmers

This disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, during an interview.

Mandava said, “We are constantly seeking to bring down our debt, and we prefer to bring it down even faster with the tower deals.’

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According to the annual report of the telecoms firm, Airtel has a repayment of 750 million euros ($890 million) due in May, while an installment of $505 million is due in March 2023.

READ: UACN of Nigeria Plc records 10.49% increase in 2020 Q3 revenues

The CEO pointed out that the company, which was spun off from India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd last year and is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nigeria Stock Exchange, used the proceeds of the dual Initial Public Offering (IPO) to help reduce its debts to $3.5 billion from about $7.7 billion. The outstanding balance includes $1.8 billion of bonds that have cross-default clauses, with Bharti Airtel still its biggest shareholder.

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However, Mandava disclosed that Airtel Africa Plc plans to lease back the towers from the successful buyers.

READ: Total Nigeria Plc records 344% rise in PAT for Q3 2020

The stock has declined by 18% since the June 2019 IPO, valuing the company at 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion).

A number of the continent’s wireless carriers have been selling similar tower assets to specialist operators, opting to save on maintenance costs, allay security concerns, and bypass shortfalls in power and road infrastructure.

READ: Analysis: Is this a Lafarge rebirth?

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What you should know

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Nairametrics had reported that its competitor, MTN Group, plans to sell its 29% stake in IHS Towers, a telecoms infrastructure and service provider. The African biggest carrier also generated about $812 million in assets that included sales of its tower holdings in Ghana and Uganda to American Towers Inc.

Meanwhile, the need for additional masts in Africa is increasing, as millions more adopt smartphones and faster broadband is needed.

READ: Increase in local sales drives Wamco Plc revenue to N150.6 billion in 9M 2020

The CEO also said that many of Airtel Africa’s 14 markets border each other, making it easier to roll out fibre even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has added 9,000 kilometres (5,592 miles) of cable this year, bringing the total to 47,000 kilometres.

He said, “Our focus is to grow in the countries that we are in.’’

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Companies

Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in cost of goods – Nigerian Breweries

Nigerian Breweries has revealed that Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in the cost of its goods in 2020.

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Jordi Borrut Bel, Nigerian Breweries Plc

The Finance Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rob Kleinjan, has revealed that the increase in the brewer’s costs of goods was due to the devaluation in naira and FX scarcity, which led to the increase in the cost of inputs such as sorghum and sugar, as they are not fully produced locally.

This disclosure was made during the Nigerian Breweries’ Fact Behind Figures results presentation today.

However, Kleinjan explained that the increase in cost could not be fully attributed to currency devaluation and foreign exchange scarcity, which exerts pressure on imported input materials.

He said the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ costs of goods sold, as reported in its unaudited financial results, could also be linked to the volume of goods sold, as the company’s sales volume in Q3 increased by almost the same percentage as the cost of goods sold.

However, Mr. Kleinijan reiterated that to mitigate further losses, it was important for the company to focus on the supply chain and seek ways to mitigate price increases.

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What they are saying

The Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Jordi Borrut, while speaking at the virtual event said:

In 2020, the results of Nigerian Breweries were adversely impacted by COVID, VAT increase, FX devaluation and scarcity of foreign exchange. The year started with a promising 1st quarter, which was heavily impacted in Q2. The Nigerian market, however, rebounded in Q3.”

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Mr. Rob Kleinjan, while explaining the factors behind the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ cost of goods sold in the first nine months of 2020, said:

It is also clear that the increase in cost is due to the devaluation and the FX scarcity which has put pressure on our input cost. If you look into the main elements we use, which are sorghum and sugar – they are not fully produced locally, so when the currency is devalued, the prices of these inputs will soar.

That’s why it’s important that we are focused on the supply chain, and seek for ways we can mitigate any of the price increases, because the increase in cost comes from the input prices, which come from FX scarcity.”

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Companies

United Securities Limited changes name to Coronation Registrars Limited

United Securities Limited formally notifies its numerous customers and stakeholders of a change of name to Coronation Registrars Limited.

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In line with section 30(3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA), United Securities Limited has formally notified its numerous customers and stakeholders that it has obtained regulatory approval from the Corporate Affairs Commission to change its name to Coronation Registrars Limited.

The disclosure is contained in a verified post on Linkedln, signed by the firm’s Secretary, Omotoyosi Kola-Ojo, and seen by Nairametrics.

What this means

In line with the recent corporate action and according to section 30(5) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the company has been issued a new Certificate of Incorporation by the Registrar General of the commission, evidencing the change of name.

What they are saying

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A verified post by the Firm read thus: “The Public is hereby informed that United Securities Limited having passed the necessary Special Resolutions in line with Section 30(3) of Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA) and obtained the necessary regulatory approval of the Corporate Affairs Commission, has changed its name to CORONATION REGISTRARS LIMITED.

The public is further informed that pursuant to Section 30(5) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the company has been issued a new certificate of incorporation by the Registrar General of the Commission evidencing the change of name. All stakeholders are requested to take note of the above information.”

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We have exported 7 clinker vessels to other African countries since June – Dangote Cement

Dangote Cement says it has exported 7 clinker vessels to other African countries since June.

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Dangote Cement reveals share buyback plans, DANGOTE CEMENT records loses as ASI decline by 0.39%

The Group Executive Director of Dangote Cement, Michel Pucheros, announced that Dangote Cement, Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 48.6Mta (Million Metric Tonnes Annually) capacity across Africa, has exported 7 clinker vessels to date to other African countries.

This statement was disclosed by Mr. Pucheros in a press release issued on the Group’s performance in the third quarter.

  • The cement maker exported 2 vessels of clinker per month to Cameroon in the third quarter of 2020 via the Apapa export terminal, which takes the Group’s clinker export for the quarter to 6 vessels.
  • In addition to its maiden shipment vessel to Senegal, which is a total of 27.8Kt of clinker, took its clinker exports to other African countries from June to date to 7 vessels.

In his statement, Mr. Pucheros said, “We continue to focus on our export strategy and are on track to ensure West and Central Africa become cement and clinker independent, with Nigeria as the main supply hub.

“Clinker exports have steadily been ramping up in Q3 after our maiden shipment in June 2020, whilst land exports have also resumed.”

However, as the Group ramp-up production across all segments and regions to reach its cement production and bagging capacity of 48.55 Mta, he said,

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“Dangote Cement’s strategy to offer high-quality products at competitive prices is meeting customers’ expectations in Nigeria and across the continent, where we continue to deploy excellent marketing initiatives and operational excellence across the continent.”

About Clinker

  • Clinker is a nodular material which is used as the binder in cement products. Clinker is produced inside the kiln during the cement manufacturing process.
  • The primary use of clinker is to manufacture cement, as cement is produced by grinding clinker.

What you should know

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Nairametrics had reported that Dangote Cement Acting CFO, Guillaume Moyen, during a virtual event in September disclosed that the cement producer is set to commence clinker export to other African countries within the next few weeks.

He reiterated that the Management of the company is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa, and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020.

Why it matters

The export of clinker to countries where limestones are not available in huge quantities gives these countries a chance to produce its cement for construction purposes.

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