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Nigerian telecoms firm secures $100m World Bank loan

A Nigerian company Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN) has secured a US$100 million investment from the World Bank’s IFC as part of a US$250 million capital injection that will help the company increase its network to 2,000 sites nationwide.

Minister of Information and Communications-Dora Akunyili

IFC disbursed an initial $50 million in mezzanine financing on August 21, and on September 30, signed an agreement to lend an additional $50 million in senior debt.

IFC also is arranging $150 million in senior debt from a number of commercial and development finance institutions.

HTN builds and maintains a network of telecommunications towers and leases space on these towers to wireless telecommunications services providers.

The increased coverage will help wireless operators roll out their services more economically and enable the extension of affordable mobile services to semi-urban and rural areas.

“IFC’s long-term investment enabled us to leverage additional funding from capital markets, which is often not readily accessible for frontier markets,” said Kayode Akinola, HTN Director and Investment Principal at Helios Investment Partners.

 “Nigeria remains one of the most high-growth telecom markets worldwide and wireless infrastructure sharing will continue to play a critical role in supporting operators in efficiently providing services to customers.”

Nigeria’s telecommunications sector has developed significantly in recent years, but teledensity at 43 percent indicates there still is potential for growth in the market.

 With the expansion of the HTN network, operators will be able to outsource non-core activities and passive infrastructure, allowing them to focus on further developing their products and services.

“Affordable mobile telecommunications enable access to knowledge and services, innovation across sectors, and more efficient delivery of government and business services, all of which will contribute to economic growth and opportunity creation,” said Mohsen Khalil, IFC Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies.

“IFC’s partnership with HTN will enable mobile operators to lower their operating costs and improve the quality and affordability of services, which will greatly benefit underserved consumers and businesses in Nigeria.”