Dubai - Etisalat Nigeria is looking to offload its transmitter towers in a deal that could raise about $400 million, banking and industry sources familiar with the matter said.
Building and maintaining mobile towers in Africa is typically more expensive than in other regions, because of high security costs and electricity shortages that often require towers to be powered by generators, while new roads may need to be built to reach rural areas.
This has prompted operators to increasingly look to sell or lease out towers to specialist companies such as Eaton Towers, Helios Towers Africa, American Tower Corp and Lagos-based IHS.
Etisalat Nigeria has approached banks with a "request for proposal" (RFP) for advisory roles on the sale, two sources said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public. The sources were not aware if an advisor had yet been appointed.
"Operating towers can be a taxing exercise for telecom operators and we have seen several players looking to offload the business to dedicated players," said one banking source.
Etisalat is estimated to own about 2 500 towers in Nigeria. Selling them could be a complicated procedure, but towers are often valued at around $150,000 each, making 2,500 potentially worth about $400 million.
Etisalat Nigeria was not immediately available for comment.