Wendel to buy 25 pct of pan-African IHS group for $125 million

LAGOS Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:56pm EDT

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LAGOS (Reuters) - African phone tower group IHS (IHS.LG) plans to sell 25 percent stake in its telecom infrastructure business to European investment firm Wendel (MWDP.PA) for $125 million to fund expansion, it said through the stock exchange on Wednesday.

IHS said the equity raised from Wendel will help balance its capital structure, fund the purchase of additional towers and make infrastructure improvements throughout Africa and the Middle East.

"Telecommunications will be at the heart of the African boom ... this transaction with IHS showcases a perfect operational blend of growth and diversification," Wendel's chairman Frederic Lemoine said in a joint statement with IHS.

Since December, IHS has raised $500 million in debt with the aim of growing its tower sites to around 10,000-15,000 towers in the next five years. It had just 850 a year ago.

Other shareholders in IHS include International Finance Corporation, South Africa's Investec Asset Management, private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners, Dutch Development Bank, and some local Nigerian banks such as Skye Bank SKYBAN.LG.

(Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Tim Cocks)

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