United Group confirms tower sale to Tawal

United Group confirms tower sale to Tawal

United Group, which describes itself as the leading multi-play telecoms and media provider in Southeast Europe, has confirmed that it has completed the sale of its mobile tower infrastructure unit (TowerCo) in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia to Tawal, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's STC Group and a leading integrated ICT infrastructure company in the MENA region.

The transaction was completed in line with the provisions of the sales and purchase agreement and has received regulatory approval, including, as we reported here just under two weeks ago, from Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition.

The transaction valued TowerCo, comprising more than 4,800 towers, at €1,220 million (about US$1,327) on a cash-free and debt-free basis, fully payable in cash. 

This is, we are told, the first investment made by Tawal in the European telecoms sector. Tawal owns a portfolio of more than 21,000 mobile towers.

United Group and its subsidiaries in the relevant geographies will remain as anchor tenants in the towers and rooftops that are part of the transaction. In fact United Group has entered into a long-term master services agreement with a 20-year initial term and automatic eight-year renewals thereafter. In addition, a service level agreement has been established to ensure United Group’s continued use of the telecommunications tower infrastructure following completion of the transaction.

Thus, the thinking behind the deal is similar to that behind many other tower sales recently. As Victoriya Boklag, United Group CEO, explains: “This is a very attractive deal for United Group and one that enables us to unlock capital from existing non-core infrastructure assets while capitalising on attractive valuations in the towers sector.” He adds: “ This aligns with the disposals undertaken by numerous operators across Europe in recent years.”

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