Helios, one of Africa’s largest mobile network operator, is moving ahead with its plan to list on London Stock Exchange (LSE). Private equity firm Helios Investment Partners, Soros Fund Management, and telecommunications groups Millicom and Bharti Airtel will reduce their stakes in the business (Photo: Cate Gillon/Getty Images).


BACKERS of Helios Towers are in line for a windfall as the company is on its way for a £1.5 billion ($2bn) London listing.

Private equity firm Helios Investment Partners, Soros Fund Management, and telecommunications groups Millicom and Bharti Airtel will reduce their stakes in the business.

Helios, one of Africa’s largest mobile network operator, is moving ahead with its plan to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Founded in 2009, Helios Towers has about 7,000 towers in five countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania.

Its customers include mobile operators Airtel, MTN, Orange, Tigo, and Vodacom.

Helios will raise approximately £100m ($125m) by selling shares to institutional investors, according to an announcement made on Thursday (12).

The new investor can purchase 25 per cent of the business. The company will use the proceeds to expand its business abroad.

Its move will provide a fillip to the stock exchange, which has suffered a slump in listings this year.

The latest listing of the African business is expected to be a great bonus for the LSE after it witnessed a fall in listings this year amid Brexit uncertainties and the US-China trade war.

The company had dropped its previous plan of a listing in March 2018 amid concern about political risk in the DRC and Tanzania, according to media reports.

Revenues at Helios Towers rose from approximately £276m ($345m) to £285m ($356m) last year, while adjusted underlying profits climbed from £117m ($146m) to £142m ($178m).

It has net debt of £525.5m ($657m).

The company’s first-half revenue increased seven per cent year-on-year to approximately £153 million ($191m), for the six months to June.

Helios operates some 7,000 telecommunications towers in countries such as South Africa, the DRC, and Ghana.

It owns and operates more sites than any other operator each in Tanzania, the DRC, and Congo Brazzaville.

The firm is also a leading operator in Ghana with a strong urban presence and has recently announced entry into South Africa.