IHS becomes third African telecoms infrastructure provider to postpone IPO in 2018

The largest mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider in Africa IHS Holding Limited has postponed its $10 billion Initial Public Offer (IPO). This is due to concerns that the sale may be too close to the Nigerian General Election scheduled to take place next year.

According to Bloomberg, IHS whose shareholders include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Wendel SA and South African wireless carrier MTN Group Ltd. was seeking to raise about $1 billion in New York.

This makes it the third African telecoms infrastructure provider to postpone its listing after Helios Tower PLC and Eaton. In March, Helios Tower halted its plans to launch an IPO at the London Bourse because the expected IPO price was too low for shareholders who had been valuing the firm at as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.8 billion). Eaton Towers Ltd in June decided to postpone its initial public offering on concern that conditions are hurting valuations.

The three companies intend to take advantage of the growing African phone mast industry, which is rising due to an increase in the use of wireless device and fall in mobile subscription on the continent.

Nigeria’s largest telecommunication company MTN is also planning to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. This was one of the conditions MTN agreed to in order to settle the $1 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015. It is also reported that investors are seeking to confirm if the planned sale of one of IHS struggling customers 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, will still go on. Earlier this year, Teleology Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy 9Mobile after a consortium of banks seized control of stakes in the telco.

What you need to know about IHS

  • IHS is one of Africa’s leading telecom infrastructure providers.
  • The company builds, leases, and manages telecommunications towers.
  • IHS has over 23,000 towers and operations in Nigeria, Zambia, Cameroon, Cote D Ivoire, and Rwanda.
  • As at 2016 IHS had revenues of $904.7 million and has about 2,000 staff.
  • IHS is owned by a private equity firm, the Wendel Group Ltd, Goldman Sachs, and MTN.