Unaudited results for the 6 months ended 30 June 2021

  • Strong H1 performance through acquisitions and continued operational excellence
  • Transformational period underway for the Company through multiple acquisitions
  • 2021 tenancy outlook for existing markets unchanged

London, 19 August 2021: Helios Towers plc (“Helios Towers”, “the Group” or “the Company”), the independent telecommunications infrastructure company, today announces results for the six months to 30 June 2021.

  H1 2021 H1 2020 Change Q2 2021 Q1 2021 Change
Sites 8,603 7,092 +21% 8,603 7,358 +17%
Tenancies 17,090 14,906 +15% 17,090 15,732 +9%
Tenancy ratio 1.99x 2.10x -0.11x 1.99x 2.14x -0.15x
Revenue (US$m) 212.4 204.0 +4% 108.8 103.6 +5%
Adjusted EBITDA (US$m)1 114.2 109.1 +5% 58.4 55.8 +5%
Adjusted EBITDA margin1 54% 53% +1ppt 54% 54%    -
Operating Profit (US$m) 26.9 29.3 -8% 9.8 17.1 -43%
Portfolio free cash flow (US$m)1 73.8 89.1 -17% 36.8 37.0 -1%
Cash generated from operations (US$m) 45.7 88.3 -48% 15.7 30.0 -48%
Net debt (US$m)1 786.0 655.7 +20% 786.0 673.2 +17%
Net leverage1,2 3.2x 3.0x +0.2x 3.2x 3.0x +0.2x

 

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.

 

Kash Pandya, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“The first half of 2021 has been a busy period for the Group, closing the acquisition of Free Senegal's tower assets and announcing five further acquisitions across Africa and the Middle-East. We are delighted to have commenced operations in the attractive Senegal market and through our experienced new markets function we have created a strong local team with our processes, systems and culture in place, ready to support mobile network operators efficiently expand coverage. We will be applying our tried and tested framework across each of the announced acquisitions, which we expect to close over the coming nine months.

At the same time we remain incredibly focused on delivering exceptional customer service to our MNO partners in all our operating markets and driving organic growth. In Q2 2021 we delivered steady organic growth and another quarter of leading power uptime, while strengthening our tenancy pipeline to support accelerated growth in the second half of 2021."

Financial highlights

  • H1 2021 revenue increased by 4% year-on-year to US$212.4m (H1 2020: US$204.0m) driven by continued organic tenancy growth across the Group and the addition of 1,264 tenancies through the acquisition of Free Senegal’s passive infrastructure assets, which closed during Q2 2021.
    • Q2 2021 revenue increased by 5% quarter-on-quarter to US$108.8m (Q1 2021: US$103.6m).
  • H1 2021 Adjusted EBITDA increased by 5% year-on-year to US$114.2m (H1 2020: US$109.1m), driven by tenancy growth and continued improvements in operational efficiency, with H1 2021 Adjusted EBITDA margin at 54% (H1 2020: 53%), up 1ppt.
    • Q2 2021 Adjusted EBITDA increased by 5% quarter-on-quarter to US$58.4m (Q1 2021: US$55.8m), including a contribution of US$2.3m from Senegal, with Q2 2021 Adjusted EBITDA margin at 54% (Q1 2021: 54%).
  • Operating profit decreased by US$2.4 million, from US$29.3 million in H1 2020 to US$26.9 million in H1 2021, driven by an increase in deal costs, depreciation and loss on disposal of property, plant and equipment, partially offset by an increase in adjusted EBITDA and lower amortisation and project costs.
  • Portfolio free cash flow decreased by 17% year-on-year to US$73.8m (H1 2020: US$89.1m), driven by timing of corporate income tax and non-discretionary capex payments.
    • Q2 2021 portfolio free cash flow decreased by 1% quarter-on-quarter to US$36.8 million (Q1 2021: US$37.0m), driven by forward purchases of non-discretionary capex and upfront ground lease payments in our new market Senegal.
  • Cash generated from operations decreased by US$42.6 million from US$88.3 million in H1 2020 to US$45.7 million in H1 2021, primarily driven by working capital movements including escrow deposit payments in relation to acquisitions.
  • Net leverage increased by +0.2x both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter to 3.2x (H1 2020: 3.0x), remaining below the Group's medium term target range of 3.5x-4.5x.
  • In June 2021, Helios Towers successfully raised US$160m gross proceeds through a US$110m equity placing and retail offer and US$50m convertible bond tap issuance. The proceeds have further enhanced the Company’s balance sheet and provides additional capital to drive the Group's organic and inorganic growth strategy.
  • Business underpinned by long-term contracted revenues of US$3.5bn (H1 2020: US$2.8bn), of which 99% is from multinational MNOs, with an average remaining life of 7.4 years (H1 2020: 6.8 years).

Operational highlights

  • Sites increased by 1,511 year-on-year to 8,603 sites (H1 2020: 7,092 sites), driven by the acquisition of 1,207 sites from Free Senegal and 304 site additions within Helios Towers’ established markets. Sites increased by 1,245 quarter-on-quarter (Q1 2021: 7,358).
  • Tenancies increased by 2,184 year-on-year to 17,090 tenants (H1 2020: 14,906 tenants), reflecting the addition of 1,264 tenancies through the acquisition of Free Senegal’s passive infrastructure assets and 920 tenancy additions within Helios Towers’ established markets.
  • Tenancy ratio decreased 0.11x year-on-year to 1.99x (H1 2020: 2.10x), reflecting the expected dilutive impact of the acquired assets from Free Senegal (Senegal H1 21 tenancy ratio: 1.05x). Excluding the acquisition, the Group’s tenancy ratio expanded 0.04x year-on-year to 2.14x.
  • Helios Towers continues to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on its operations. The telecommunications sector has been classified as an ‘essential service’ in our markets, allowing us to operate at our normal high levels of service. To date, there has been minimal impact on the Group’s delivery of service and operational execution.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

  • Helios Towers’ Sustainable Business Strategy enables the company to deliver a positive impact for all stakeholders, in line with its purpose of driving the growth of communications in Africa and the Middle-East.
  • The Group published its first Sustainable Business Report on 10 March 2021. The report provides a detailed review of the Group’s progress against its strategic objectives and ambitions.
  • The Group is currently developing its carbon emissions reduction target and expects to publish this target in Q4 2021.
  • The Group submitted its first climate questionnaire response to CDP in July 2021, which will deliver Helios Towers' first CDP score and will be communicated once received.

Strategic Updates

  • During H1 2021 Helios Towers has made significant progress on its growth strategy including closing the acquisition of Free Senegal's passive infrastructure assets and entering into the following agreements for entry into new markets:
    • On 23 March 2021, Helios Towers announced it had signed agreements with Airtel Africa Group companies (“Airtel Africa”) to acquire its passive infrastructure operating companies in Madagascar and Malawi and enter into exclusive memorandum of understanding arrangements for the potential acquisition of its passive infrastructure assets in Chad and Gabon (together, the “Transactions”). The Transactions represent 2,227 sites with further growth anticipated through 315 committed BTS and colocation lease-up.
    • On 11 May 2021, Helios Towers announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire 2,890 sites from Oman Telecommunications Company (“Omantel”) for US$575m, with further growth anticipated through a 300 build-to-suit (“BTS”) site commitment as well as colocation lease-up. The acquisition supports the Company’s entry into one of the fastest growing markets in the Middle-East region, and further diversifies its portfolio with an acquisition that meets Helios Towers’ acquisition criteria.
    • On 18 May 2021, Helios Towers closed the acquisition of Free Senegal’s passive infrastructure assets, adding 1,207 sites to its portfolio.
  • These acquisitions, together with the committed BTS, increases Group site count close to 15,000 towers across 11 markets, delivering the Group’s 2025 vision of expanding to 12,000+ towers in at least 8 markets.
  • Upon closing these acquisitions, Helios Towers will become the most diverse independent telecommunications infrastructure company across Africa and the Middle-East.

2021 Outlook and guidance

  • Tenancy guidance for the established five markets remains unchanged, targeting 1,000 - 1,500 tenancies which is supported by a robust tenancy pipeline.
  • Capex guidance for the Group is unchanged, targeting the following for FY 2021:
    • US$110m - US$140m of capex in Helios Towers’ established five markets, of which US$20m - US$25m is non-discretionary capex.
    • US$215m of capital expenditure in our sixth market, Senegal, reflecting acquisition capex of approximately US$190m and US$25m of growth, upgrade and non-discretionary capex.
    • US$108m consideration for the acquisition of Airtel Africa’s passive infrastructure companies in Madagascar and Malawi, expected to close in or around Q4 2021.
    • US$575m consideration for the acquisition of Omantel’s tower portfolio, expected to close in H2 2021.

For further information go to:
www.heliostowers.com

 

Investor Relations
Chris Baker-Sams - Corporate Finance Manager
+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, 19 August 2021. For the best user experience, please access the conference via the webcast. You can pre-register and access the event using the link below:

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: 238362

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 and Senegal. Following recent acquisition agreements and subject to regulatory approval, Helios Towers expects to establish a presence in five new markets across Africa and the Middle-East over the next nine months. Including these acquisitions and committed BTS, the Group’s total site count is expected to increase from over 8,600 towers to almost 15,000.

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.

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