Zain sells off its telecom towers in Kuwait, raising $130m

Published: 13 February 2020 - 6:58 a.m.

Zain Group has completed the sale of its telecoms tower infrastructure in Kuwait to IHS for $130 million.

The deal will see Zain Group lease back access to its 1,620 mobile towers in the country. The sale has received regulatory approval from Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) and was supported by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA).

The deal represents the first towers sales and leaseback arrangement in the Middle East and North Africa region.

“This historical transaction unlocks value for shareholders as it gives us greater flexibility to focus on higher yielding digital investments, 5G expansion and operational efficiencies in Kuwait. It also supports Zain’s transformational strategy in becoming a digital lifestyle provider through optimizing service delivery and enhancing customer experience,” said Bader Al-Kharafi, vice-chairman and group CEO of Zain.

“I’m very proud of the Zain team for its professionalism in completing this first agreement of its kind in the MENA region. I’m also very appreciative of the positive support of both CITRA and KDIPA which were instrumental in making this deal happen. We are confident we have chosen the right partner in IHS, a company that possesses high caliber expertise with sound operational experience in diverse markets,” he added.

The deal will allow Zain to access some quick capital which it could reinvest in the build out and densification of its 5G mobile networks in the country.

In a statement to the press, Zain reiterated that it would only be selling its passive, physical infrastructure and would retain its intelligent software, technology and intellectual property with respect to managing of its network.

IHS Holdings Limited is one of the largest independent owners, operators and developers of shared telecommunication infrastructure in the world by tower count.

“We are delighted to have successfully concluded this transaction with Zain and look forward to a long and successful partnership over the coming years in Kuwait and potentially beyond,” said Sam Darwish, chairman and group CEO of HIS.

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