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Gulf telcos sign deal to create $2bn tower company

Bader Al-Kharafi and Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo Zain/Ooredoo
Bader Al-Kharafi and Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo
  • Ooredoo, Zain and Tasc join forces
  • Revenue of $500m anticipated
  • Agreement will boost connectivity

Telecom operators Ooredoo and Zain Group on Tuesday said agreements have been signed to create the largest tower company in the Middle East and North Africa.

The cash and share deal, which also involves Dubai-based Tasc Towers Holding, will establish a company comprising 30,000 telecom towers in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Algeria and Tunisia, with an estimated value of $2.2 billion. 

Qatar’s Ooredoo and Kuwait’s Zain will hold a 49.3 percent stake each while the founders of Tasc will hold the remainder, according to a filing to Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange.

The tower business is expected to achieve run-rate revenues close to $500 million annually, it added.

The deal is expected to be completed next year, subject to regulatory approvals. 

In a joint statement, Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo, managing director and group CEO, Ooredoo; Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain vice-chairman and group CEO; and Iyad Mazhar, founder and CEO of Tasc, said the “pioneering” deal would place the Mena region on the world telecom tower map.

It would, they said, offer “positive implications for the region” including improved connectivity.

Person, Worker, Clothing Ooredoo and Zain along with Tasc will create a company comprising 30,000 telecom towersPolonio Video/Shutterstock
Ooredoo and Zain along with Tasc say the deal will put the Mena region on the telecoms map
Thriving telecoms

In September Zain, which serves more than 52 million active customers with a commercial presence in the Middle East and Africa, increased its share in Tasc Towers from 83.47 percent to 92.87 percent.

Last month it posted revenue of $4.6 billion for January-September, up 11 percent year-on-year, while net income increased 13 percent to $561 million. 

In October, Ooredoo posted revenue growth of 2 percent to QAR17.2 billion ($4.7 billion) for the first nine months of 2023, while net profit rose by 19 percent to QAR2.5 billion.

Last year Zain Saudi Arabia sold 8,069 towers to the kingdom’s sovereign Public Investment Fund for about $800 million. It sold 1,620 telecom towers to IHS Holding for $130 million in 2020.

Omantel sold 2,890 towers to Helios Towers for $575 million in 2021.

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