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Wednesday, 21 October 2009 11:35

African Telecoms Investment to Reach US$141.1 Billion by 2013

The African continent continues to attract substantial investments into its telecommunications markets, with the combined fixed and mobile cumulative capex for Africa since the Year 2000 expected to grow from US$76.1 billion in 2008 to US$141.1 billion by 2013, adding cumulative investments of US$68 billion in the period.


Fezekile Mashinini, telecoms analyst at BMI-Techknowledge (BMI-T) and author of the report behind the figures says that the mobile sector is the source of growth, with an estimated 68.5% (US$98.8 billion) of all cumulative investment attributable to this sector as fixed-mobile substitution continues and mobile operators drive infrastructure investments to keep on track with increasing customer numbers.


Africa recorded a year-on-year growth of 31.1%, reaching an estimated 405 million subscribers, with the fixed networks accounting for 7.5%. The mobile networks unprecedented growth over the past few years continued, with an estimated 94 million new subscribers being added during 2008, to end the year at an estimated 375 million subscribers. BMI-T's forecast for the combined fixed and mobile subscriber market in Africa has placed the total number of subscribers at 782 million by 2013, representing a 14.1% CAGR.


Even though the mobile sector is currently leading the charge in terms of investments, the fixed network sector will also witness heightened investments due mainly to the landing of various under-sea cables. 2009 has witnessed the landing of under-sea fibre cables such as SEACOM, Low Indian Ocean Network (LION), The East African Marine System (TEAMS), and most recently Globacom's "Glo 1" cable. The expected spending by operators on terrestrial links to bring the bandwidth inland is expected to run into millions of dollars.


(Source: Cellular News)


Safaricom Issues U.S.$66 Million Corporate Bond in Kenya

Kenya's largest telecoms firm, Safaricom announced a $66.6 million (KSh5 billion) bond to the Kenyan market, part of an extensive capital-raising initiative the company is implementing.


The release of the medium term notes follows the approval of Safaricom's $160 million (KSh12 billion) bond programme by Kenya's Capital Markets Authority (CMA). The $66.6 million represents the first tranche.


The process ends an 11-month hunt for funding by the mobile firm, which initially indicated that it was searching for cash to fuel its expansion plans in December last year.


According to the issue documents, the offer closes on October 29, while the pokies on line allocation will be a day later. The notes have been divided into two options: one with a fixed rate and the other with a floating rate.


The fixed rate notes will carry a coupon rate of 12.25% per year, while the floating rate notes' pricing will be pegged at 185 basis points above the most recent published rate for the 182-day Treasury Bill.


"We are extremely bullish about this bond. The conditions and pricing are right and we are confident the market will endorse our overall strategy by taking it up. Safaricom will be using the funding for general corporate capital purposes, including the rollout of some critical projects," said Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph.


The issue has been put together by Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited and Barclays Financial Services Limited in association with Absa Capital, a division of Absa Bank Limited; CFC Stanbic Bank and CFC Stanbic Financial Services as arrangers. The joint sponsoring stockbrokers are CFC Stanbic Financial Services and Kestrel Capital (East Africa) Limited.


The reporting accountants on the issue is PricewaterhouseCoopers, while the transaction's legal counsel is Kaplan & Stratton. Legal counsel to Safaricom on the programme is being provided by Daly & Figgis, the fiscal and calculation agent is CFC Stanbic Bank, while the registrar is Livingstone Registrars.


With the issue of the $66.6 million (KSh5 billion) medium term notes, Safaricom will be further entrenching a long-standing relationship with the Kenyan corporate bond market. In 2001, the listed telecoms operator launched a bond for $53.3 (KSh4 billion), the principal for which was repaid between September 2003 and March 2006.


Formed at the turn of the decade as part of the liberalization of Kenya's telecoms sector as a joint venture between global GSM leader Vodafone of the UK and the government of Kenya, Safaricom has firmly established its credentials as a regional leader, spawning a virtual telecoms revolution in Kenya. With a gross profit Sh15 billion and revenue totalling $200 million (KSh70 billion) during its last financial year, Safaricom is the region's most profitable company. Last year, it successfully listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange through a landmark initial public offering (IPO) and actively trades on the commercials counter. Growing from its cradle in mobile voice services, Safaricom has evolved into a total telecoms company.


The firm, which has a subscriber base of over 14 million, offers all telecoms services under one roof: mobile and fixed voice and data services on a variety of platforms: Kenya's widest 3G network; a growing fibre optic cable footprint and WIMAX technology.


(Source: East African Business Week)


IFC Leads $250 Million Investment in Shared Tower Communications Infrastructure in Nigeria

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $100 million in Helios Towers Nigeria Ltd as part of a $250 million capital injection that will help the company increase its network to 2,000 sites nationwide and afford Nigerian people the many benefits of improved communications.


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.”


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