Zain Group has approved an offer to sell and lease back the passive physical infrastructure of its mobile tower portfolio to IHS for circa SAR 2.43 billion (USD 648 million).
IHS is the largest independent tower operator in Europe, Middle East and Africa by tower count and the third largest independent multinational tower company globally. Zain KSA has more than 8,100 mobile telecommunication towers located in prime and strategic locations across the Kingdom.
Under the terms of the agreement, Zain KSA is selling only its passive, physical infrastructure to IHS and will retain its intelligent software, technology and intellectual property with respect to managing its network. The agreement also involves a lease back period of 15 years, with a 5-year renewal option and building of an additional 1500 towers over next 6 years.
This offer for Zain KSA’ tower portfolio is a consolidatory move as it comes after Zain Kuwait entered into an agreement also with IHS Holding, which was the first sale and leaseback deal of telecom towers in the Middle East region by a licensed mobile operator, and that will create the first independent tower operator of scale in the region.