Helios Towers, an African mobile phone towers operator, has ditched plans to list on the London Stock Exchange after the value of the shares being offered fell below shareholder expectations. Shareholders valued the company at around £2bn ($2.8bn).
Helios, which owns over 6,000 telecoms towers in Ghana, Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo, received “considerable interest” from investors but they wanted a discount because of concerns relating to political and policy risks in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tanzania. The DRC has been gripped by political uncertainty after President Joseph Kabila failed to stand down as stipulated by the constitution in 2016; while President John Magufuli has implemented policies across the mining sector which has put off investors.
In light of the undervaluation of the company, shareholders decided to withdraw the floatation which had been scheduled for April.
The company would have been the third African mobile towers business to float in 2018 after IHS Towers and Eaton Towers announced plans for listings to fund infrastructure investment.
Africa’s mobile market has grown significantly with the number of people with access to smartphones surging. Helios is owned by telecoms companies Millicom and Bharti Airtel and hedge funds including Soros Fund Management and Rothschild Investment Trust Capital Partners.