MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless firm, has announced that American Tower Corp. will assume control of its Nigerian tower operations from IHS Holding Ltd. starting in 2025. This decision stems from the expiration of leases for approximately 2,500 network sites in Nigeria, MTN’s largest market, in 2024 and 2025.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
MTN Group issued a tender for the tower contract, and American Tower Corp. (ATC) emerged as the preferred tower company for these sites due to its superior bid submission, as per MTN’s filing on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX).
This development follows a boardroom dispute between IHS Towers and MTN Group regarding MTN’s desire for greater control over the tower company. While MTN holds a 26% stake in IHS Towers, it only controls 20% of the voting share. In 2022, MTN completed a deal with IHS to acquire over 5,700 tower sites in South Africa, leading to the current governance dispute.
This agreement has significant implications for IHS Towers, as Nigeria represents its largest market by revenue, primarily driven by its relationship with MTN. ATC, a formidable African competitor, could pose challenges to IHS Towers, especially in the wake of a 9.4% revenue decline in the first quarter of 2023, attributed to the devaluation of the naira.
MTN Nigeria has also reported a foreign exchange loss, leading to a 64% profit decline in its 2023 second-quarter report.
Previously, American Tower acquired MTN’s stake in tower operations in Uganda and Ghana.