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Actis buys telecom towers in South Africa for 6.75 billion rand
Swiftnet acquisition deepens relationship with mobile operators in the country
Michael Marray 27 Mar 2024

London-based sustainable infrastructure investment firm Actis has agreed to acquire South African telecom tower portfolio Swiftnet from Telkom for an enterprise value of 6.75 billion South African rand (US$355 million).

Actis is investing together with Royal Bafokeng Holdings as its empowerment partner.

For Actis, Swiftnet represents a strategic acquisition, bringing with it over 4,000 sites across the country.  The platform is underpinned by a strong relationship with Telkom and other existing anchor tenants, and long-term contractual revenue.

The deal allows Actis to invest in a growing sector, with an increasing need for tower densification driven by increasing internet penetration and the transitions from 3G and 4G to 5G.

Actis aims to create a leading independent telecom tower platform and further deepen its relationship with mobile operators in South Africa. Swiftnet has a unique tower footprint across the country and is well positioned to meet the demands of mobile network operators as they seek to expand coverage in rural areas.

The investment builds on Actis’ existing digital infrastructure portfolio in South Africa, having invested in fibre network operator Octotel in 2020. The transaction will also mark Actis’ second investment into telecom towers this year following the recent acquisition of a macro tower portfolio in the Western Balkans, comprising about 1,800 macro towers in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

This is Actis’ ninth investment in the digital infrastructure sector, with more than US$1.5 billion currently committed in the sector.

"Our strategy is to position Swiftnet as the leading independent towerco in this market," says Actis partner David Cooke. "Providing the infrastructure to deliver universal telecommunications access across the country, including the rollout of 5G connectivity, presents great growth prospects."

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