Sifiso Dabengwa said the benefits of outsourcing passive infrastructure are considerable. Sifiso Dabengwa said the benefits of outsourcing passive infrastructure are considerable.

South Africa’s MTN Group has agreed to sell its cell towers in Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon for a combined sum of $284 million.

Under the definitive agreements, IHS will fully own the tower companies to be set up in each country to manage the towers and other passive infrastructure.

MTN Cote d’Ivoire (CIV) and MTN Cameroon (CMR) will, on commercial terms, become the anchor tenants on the towers being purchased for an initial term of ten years.

The agreements include a commitment from IHS to roll out a build-to-suit programme to support MTN’s future requirements in both countries, as well as pursue opportunities to build tower sites for other wireless operators.

“The benefits to MTN of monetising our non-core assets and outsourcing passive infrastructure to experienced independent companies such as IHS are considerable,” said Sifiso Dabengwa, group president and CEO of MTN Group. “With a continued commitment to improving the service to our customers, a reduction of our capital expenditure requirements allows us to concentrate on investing in our customer base and implementing additional services to meet the demand for innovative products and data.”

Issam Darwish, CEO of IHS, added: “This transaction is the next step in our strategy for expansion across Africa; we continue to invest in countries with attractive economic and demographic profiles. This transaction firmly positions IHS as a leading mobile tower infrastructure company in sub-Saharan Africa with resources for continued expansion and technological innovation.”

The deal will make IHS the largest independent tower company in West Africa with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire.

The deals are expected to close during the first quarter of 2013, subject to customary closing conditions.