Consolidation may be next for African tower firms

And then there were none. At the dawn of 2018, three African phone tower companies had dreams of selling shares in London or New York. The most optimistic estimates pegged their potential combined valuation at US$15-billion (about R206-billion). One by one, their grand plans fell apart.

IHS Towers, the biggest, was last to put the strategy on hold this week. Potential investors in the Lagos-based company worried about the uncertain outcome of Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election, as well as the drawn-out sale of domestic wireless carrier and IHS customer 9Mobile. Helios Towers and Eaton Towers, which previously scrapped IPOs, are set to stay unlisted for now.

Industry observers aren’t abandoning hope for another rush to public markets, amid expectations the companies will pursue…

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