Bloomberg has reported that Bharti Airtel Africa has plans of selling about 4,500 telecommunication towers in five countries; Tanzania, Madagascar, Gabon, Chad, and Malawi to help reduce USD$3.5 billion of debt and prepare for bond repayments.
Raghunath Mandava; CEO, Bharti Airtel Africa told Bloomberg in an interview that Airtel is constantly seeking to bring down debt, and prefers to do so even faster with the tower deals.
“Many of Airtel Africa’s fourteen markets border each other, making it easier to roll out fibre even during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mandava said.
Airtel has a repayment of EUR 750 million due in May, and an instalment of USD$505 million is due in March 2023, according to its annual report.
Mandava said the telco used the proceeds of the dual initial public offering to help cut borrowings to USD$3.5 billion from about USD$7.7 billion. The outstanding balance USD$1.8 billion of bonds have cross-default clauses with Bharti Airtel, still its biggest shareholder.