IHS Holding has extended an enhanced offer of commercial terms to MTN Nigeria for the lease of 2,500 towers previously lost to American Tower Corporation (ATC), aiming to avert potential network disruptions in Africa’s most populous country. MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of South Africa’s MTN Group, awarded the leasing rights to ATC Nigeria in September, following a competitive bidding process for sites expiring in 2024 and 2025.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
This strategic move by MTN Nigeria is expected to diversify its towers portfolio and realize substantial network cost efficiencies. IHS Towers’ Chairman and CEO, Sam Darwish, affirmed that while these towers constitute a minor portion of the company’s total tenancies, IHS is prepared to align its terms with those of ATC to mitigate potential disruptions, withholding specific details on the improved commercial terms.
MTN clarified that its agreement with ATC is final, emphasizing ongoing constructive engagement with IHS for future opportunities, including site renewals. The operator expressed a preference for bilateral renewals contingent on competitive pricing and terms, citing the superior proposal from ATC in this instance.
IHS, which possesses 16,000 towers in Nigeria, with MTN leasing 14,600 of them, faces concerns about potential contract losses as MTN Nigeria reviews other tower agreements nearing renewal. The remaining tower leases with IHS extend between 2025 and 2029, with a majority expiring in 2029.
Furthermore, IHS is entangled in a shareholder dispute involving MTN Group, its largest shareholder with a 26% stake, alongside French financial investor Wendel and activist investor Blackwells Capital. The discord revolves around governance issues, and Darwish confirmed ongoing engagements with Wendel and MTN to address these concerns.