United Group BV, the leading multi-play telecoms and media company in Southeast Europe, is pleased to confirm that following the announcement on 20 April 2023, on 24 August the Company has completed the sale of its mobile tower infrastructure unit in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia (“TowerCo”) to TAWAL, a subsidiary of 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 (“SPA”) and having received regulatory approval.
The transaction valued TowerCo, comprising more than 4,800 towers, at €1,220 million on a cash free and debt free basis, fully payable in cash, which represents an EV / 2022 EBITDAal (pre IFRS 16) multiple of 20.1x.
Net proceeds from the transaction amounted to EUR 1,218 million and will be used to fully repay the Company’s €525m 2024 Senior Secured Notes and €550m 2025 Senior Secured Notes. The remaining balance will be directed towards further strengthening United Group’s cash and liquidity position. Furthermore, the Company’s liquidity will be further bolstered by additional payments from TowerCo in the amount of EUR 29 million shortly after closing. Following repayment of principal and accrued interest for 2024 and 2025 Notes, total positive effect on Company’s liquidity amounts to €168 million.
The transaction is the first investment made by TAWAL in the European telecoms sector. TAWAL is the largest integrated ICT infrastructure provider in the MENA region and 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 towers and rooftops which are part of the transaction. Consequently, the Company has entered into a long-term Master Services Agreement with a 20-year initial term and automatic 8-year renewals thereafter. Additionally, a Service Level Agreement has been established to ensure our continued use of the telecommunications tower infrastructure following completion of the transaction.
Victoriya Boklag, United Group CEO, said:
“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. This aligns with the disposals undertaken by numerous operators across Europe in recent years. Proceeds from the sale will be channelled towards significantly de-levering the business, freeing up cash flow for future growth.
We are delighted to have partnered with TAWAL, the largest integrated ICT infrastructure provider in the MENA region, in their first investment in the European telecoms sector and will explore further opportunities for joint growth and expansion.”