Unaudited trading update for the three months ended 31 March 2022

  • +23% year-on-year revenue growth

  • +20% year-on-year Adj. EBITDA growth

  • Seasonally strong organic tenancy additions

  • Malawi acquisition closed, taking the Group to 8 markets and over 10,500 towers

  • 2022 guidance reiterated

London, 05 May 2022: Helios Towers plc (“Helios Towers”, “the Group” or “the Company”), the independent telecommunications infrastructure company, today announces results for the three months to 31 March 2022 (“Q1 2022”).

  Q1 2022 Q1 2021 Change Q1 2022 Q4 2021 Change
Sites 10,511 7,358 +43% 10,511 9,560 +10%
Tenancies 20,233 15,732 +29% 20,233 18,776 +8%
Tenancy ratio 1.92x 2.14x -0.22x 1.92x 1.96x -0.04x
Revenue (US$m) 127.5 103.6 +23% 127.5 122.3 +4%
Adjusted EBITDA (US$m)1 66.7 55.8 +20% 66.7 65.6 +2%
Adjusted EBITDA margin1 52% 54% -2% 52% 54% -2%
Operating Profit (US$m) 52% 17.1 -16% 52% 17.0 -15%
Portfolio free cash flow (US$m)1 49.4 37.0 +34% 49.4 49.6 0%
Cash generated from operations (US$m) 49.4 30.0 +76% 49.4 97.3 -46%
Net debt (US$m)1 1,012.7 673.2 +50% 1,012.7 948.5 +7%
Net leverage1,2 3.7x 3.0x +0.7x 3.7x 3.6x +0.1x

1. Alternative Performance Measures are described in our defined terms and conventions.

2. Calculated as per the Senior Notes definition of net debt divided by annualised Adjusted EBITDA.

TOM GREENWOOD, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We have seen strong growth this quarter with revenue up 23% year-on-year, driven by continued organic demand in our established markets in addition to the contributions from our three new markets of Senegal, Madagascar and Malawi. Our recent platform expansion is progressing well, as we become the most diversified towerco in the region with the doubling of our sites and markets. We have many exciting years ahead as we move to a new phase of our journey and launch our 5 year sustainable business strategy - focused on driving growth, impact, margins and returns.”

Financial highlights

  • Revenue increased 23% year-on-year to US$127.5m (Q1 2021: US$103.6m), driven by acquisitions in Senegal, Madagascar and Malawi and strong organic tenancy growth across the Group. Excluding acquisitions, revenue increased 10% year-on-year.
    • Revenue increased by 4% quarter-on-quarter (Q4 2021: US$122.3m).
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased by 20% year-on-year to US$66.7m (Q1 2021: US$55.8m), driven by the three acquisitions closed over the past twelve months and organic tenancy growth in our established markets, partially offset by corporate SG&A investments previously communicated to support the Group’s transformational expansion from five markets to ten markets.
    • Adjusted EBITDA increased by 2% quarter-on-quarter (Q4 2021: US$65.6m).
  • Operating profit decreased year-on-year by US$2.7m and quarter-on-quarter by US$2.6m to US$14.4m, driven by higher depreciation from acquired assets, partially offset by Adjusted EBITDA growth.
  • Portfolio free cash flow increased by 34% year-on-year to US$49.4m (Q1 2021: US$37.0m), driven by the increase in Adjusted EBITDA, lower maintenance and corporate capital additions, lower tax payments partially offset by higher lease payments, due to higher site count.
    • Portfolio free cash flow was broadly flat quarter-on-quarter (Q4 2021: US$49.6m).
  • Cash generated from operations increased by 76% year-on-year to US$52.7m (Q1 2021: US$30.0m), driven by higher Adjusted EBITDA and working capital movements. The decrease quarter-on-quarter was primarily due to working capital movements.
  • Net leverage of 3.7x increased by +0.7x year-on-year (Q1 2021: 3.0x) and +0.1x quarter-on-quarter (Q4 2021: 3.6x), and remains at the low end of the Group's medium-term target range of 3.5x-4.5x.
  • Business underpinned by long-term contracted revenues of US$4.2bn (Q1 2021: US$2.8bn), of which 99% is from multinational MNOs, with an average remaining life of 7.4 years (Q1 2021: 6.6 years).

Operational highlights

 

  • Sites increased by +3,153 (+43%) year-on-year to 10,511 sites (Q1 2021: 7,358 sites), reflecting 733 organic site additions and the acquisition of +2,420 sites in Senegal, Madagascar and Malawi.
    • Sites increased by +951 quarter-on-quarter (Q4 2021: 9,560), including +228 organic site additions and +723 sites from the Malawi acquisition.
  • Tenancies increased by +4,501 year-on-year to 20,233 tenants (Q1 2021: 15,732 tenants), reflecting +1,545 organic tenancy additions and +2,956 additional tenancies through the acquisition of passive infrastructure assets in Senegal, Madagascar and Malawi.
    • Tenancies increased by +1,457 quarter-on-quarter (Q4 2021: 18,776), including +359 organic tenancy additions and +1,098 tenancies from the Malawi acquisition.
  • Tenancy ratio decreased -0.22x year-on-year to 1.92x (Q1 2021: 2.14x), reflecting the dilutive impact of the acquired assets in Senegal, Madagascar and Malawi (Senegal Q1 2022: 1.1x, Madagascar Q1 2022: 1.2x, Malawi Q1 2022: 1.5x). Excluding acquired assets, the Group’s tenancy ratio remained flat at 2.14x year-on-year.

Strategic Updates

  • On 28 April 2022 and as previously communicated, Tom Greenwood was appointed as CEO of Helios Towers. Tom Greenwood joined the Company in 2010 and has previously held numerous Group executive roles including COO (2020 – 2022) and CFO (2015 – 2020).
  • On 25 March 2022, Helios Towers closed the acquisition of Airtel Africa’s passive infrastructure company in Malawi, adding 723 sites to its portfolio and becoming the Group’s eighth country of operation.
  • The Group continues to progress with the closings of Oman and potential acquisition of Airtel Africa’s tower assets in Gabon, with the expected timings outlined below:
    • Oman: Subject to completing the remaining customary closing conditions including obtaining regulatory approval, the Group anticipates the acquisition of Oman Telecommunications Company (“Omantel”) to close in or around the end of Q2 2022.
    • Gabon: As previously announced, Helios Towers and Airtel Africa have extended the memorandum of understanding arrangement. Subject to obtaining a passive infrastructure licence, the acquisition of tower assets in Gabon is expected to close in H2 2022.

Capital Markets Day

  • Helios Towers is launching its refreshed five-year strategy today, with a Capital Markets Day being held between 1:00pm until 5:00pm BST today. Alongside providing details on the Company’s medium-term outlook, the event will provide an overview of the Company’s business model and key value drivers, as well as presenting analysts and
    investors with an opportunity to meet with the broader executive management team.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

  • The Group published its second Sustainable Business Report on 22 March 2022. The report provides a detailed review of the Group’s progress against its strategic objectives and ambitions. 

2022 outlook and guidance

  • The Group is tracking in-line with its FY 2022 outlook and has reiterated guidance of1:
    • 1,200 – 1,700 organic tenancy additions, of which 60% are expected to be new sites.
    • Lease rate per tenant to increase in the range of 3-5% from FY 2021 (2021: $26.4k per tenant).
    • Adjusted EBITDA margin of 51-53% (FY 2021: 53.6%), with the YoY decrease driven by the impact of new acquisitions and corporate SG&A investment required for the expansion of the Group’s operations from five to ten markets.
  • The acquisition of Airtel Africa’s passive infrastructure company in Malawi, closed at the end of March, is anticipated to deliver Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $6m for its nine months of operation in FY 2022.
  • The Group continues to target capex of US$810m – US$850m in FY 2022.
    • As previously guided, excluding acquisitions the Group anticipates US$160m - US$200m of capex, of which, US$27m- US$32m is non-discretionary capex.
    • The Group expects to deploy approximately US$650m on acquisitions in 2022, reflecting the acquisitions in Oman and Malawi and deferred acquisition payments in Senegal and Madagascar.

1 Reflects guidance for the seven markets where Helios Towers was operational at the beginning of the year


For further information go to: www.heliostowers.com

Investor Relations
Chris Baker-Sams – Head of Strategic Finance and Investor Relations
+44 (0)752 310 1475

Media relations
Edward Bridges / Stephanie Ellis
FTI Consulting LLP
+44 (0)20 3727 1000

Helios Towers’ management will host a conference call for analysts and institutional investors at 09.30 BST on Thursday, 5 May 2022. For the best user experience, please access the conference via the webcast. You can pre-register and access the event using the link below:

Registration Link - Helios Towers Q1 2022 Results Conference Call
Event Name: Q12022
Password: HELIOS

If you intend to participate in Q&A during the call or are unable to use the webcast, please dial in using the details below: 

  • Europe & International: +44 203 936 2999
  • South Africa (local) :087 550 8441
  • USA (local): +1 646 664 1960
  • Passcode: 886017

Read the full announcement here

 

About Helios Towers

  • Helios Towers is a leading independent telecommunications infrastructure company, having established one of the most extensive tower portfolios across Africa. It builds, owns and operates telecom passive infrastructure, providing services to mobile network operators.
  • Helios Towers owns and operates telecommunication tower sites in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Madagascar and Malawi. Following recent acquisition agreements and subject to regulatory approval, Helios Towers expects to establish a presence in two new markets in Africa and the Middle-East. Including these acquisitions and committed BTS, the Group’s total site count is expected to increase from over 10,500 towers to over 14,000.
  • Helios Towers pioneered the model in Africa of buying towers that were held by single operators and providing services utilising the tower infrastructure to the seller and other operators. This allows wireless operators to outsource non-core tower-related activities, enabling them to focus their capital and managerial resources on providing higher quality services more cost-effectively.

Alternative Performance Measures

The Group has presented a number of Alternative Performance Measures (“APMs”), which are used in addition to IFRS statutory performance measures. The Group believes that these APMs, which are not considered to be a substitute for or superior to IFRS measures, provide stakeholders with additional helpful information on the performance of the business. These APMs are consistent with how the business performance is planned and reported within the internal management reporting to the Board. Loss before tax, gross profit, non-current and current loans and long-term and short-term lease liabilities are the equivalent statutory measures (see ‘Certain defined terms and conventions’). For more information on the Group’s Alternative Performance Measures, see page 68 of the Group’s Annual report for the year ended 31 December 2021, published on the Group’s website. Reconciliations of APMs to the equivalent statutory measure are included in the Group’s half-year and Annual financial reports.