A consortium led by Metier, an independent African private equity fund manager, has invested $36 million to pick up a significant minority stake in Africa Mobile Networks Ltd (AMN).
The consortium includes European development finance institutions CDC Group Plc, DEG and Proparco as well as Mauritius Commercial Bank’s equity division and other financial institutions and investment managers.
As part of the transaction, the consortium is also acquiring $3.5 million of existing shares, Metier said Tuesday.
AMN builds and operates mobile network base stations in partnership with top-tier licensed mobile network operators such as MTN, Orange and Vodafone to extend their rural coverage. It provides a full turnkey NaaS (Network as a Service) approach to enable mobile network operators in Sub-Saharan Africa to expand their coverage with no capital expenditure or operating equipment risk to be borne by the mobile operators.
Michael Darcy-led AMN operates around 2,000 mobile network base stations in rural towns and villages across 10 countries, serving around 7 million people who were previously unconnected and processing 1.2 billion phone calls a year.
It is currently the fifth-largest independent tower company operating in Africa. Following a 2020 acquisition of communications technology vendor Range Networks, based in Silicon Valley, California, AMN has also become an original equipment manufacturer. It recently deployed its own OpenRAN-based equipment, which is capable of offering integrated 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services from a single radio node.
The proceeds of the new growth equity round will be used to expand AMN’s business to over 5,000 towers across more than 15 countries by the end of 2023.
This is the second deal for Metier this year. In February, it invested in Energy Vision, a Mauritius-incorporated entity that provides energy services to telecom-related assets in Africa.
Energy Vision was founded in 2014 by a team of telecom and infrastructure professionals looking to provide bespoke affordable and clean energy solutions for telecom towers across Africa.