French telecommunications company Orange is considering various strategic options for its mobile tower business in Africa and the Middle East.
This could include stake sales, carving out assets based on geography, holding an initial public offering, selling the towers by country, or sharing them with other operators, according to reports.
The assets under review could be worth up to $1 billion, depending on their location and condition.
As part of a trend of telecom companies worldwide seeking to raise capital and share the costs of network expansions, Orange is evaluating the option of selling off its infrastructure business. The African tower portfolio under review is separate from Orange's mobile-mast firm Totem, which was established last year.
While the French firm has discussed the possibility with advisors, the talks are still at an early stage, and no final decisions have been made. Several independent tower companies have shown interest in picking up the assets, including American Tower Corp, IHS Holding, and Helios Towers.
Africa's largest mobile company, MTN Group, recently completed a sale-and-leaseback deal for around 5,700 of its South African towers, raising R6.4 billion. It remains to be seen what course of action Orange will take regarding its mobile towers business in Africa and the Middle East.