Zain KSA completes $805m deal to sell stake in tower infrastructure

The latest deal is expected to result in a net profit of up to 1.1 billion riyals for the company


Kuwait telecom provider, Zain, at Gitex Technology Week at DWTC.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

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Zain KSA, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest telecoms company, has completed a deal to sell a stake in its tower infrastructure for more than 3 billion Saudi riyals ($805 million).

As part of the deal, Zain KSA has sold at least 3,000 towers, out of the total of 8,069 towers, to Golden Lattice Investment Company (GLIC), which is owned by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, Zain KSA, Prince Saud bin Fahad and Sultan Holding Company.

The ownership of the remaining towers will be transferred in batches within the next 18 months, Zain KSA said on Monday in a filing to the Tadawul stock exchange, where its shares are traded.

However, the company will retain ownership of all other equipment, from wireless communication antennae to software and technology.

The PIF, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, holds a 60 per cent stake in GLIC while 20 per cent is owned by Zain KSA. Sultan Holding Company and Prince Saud bin Fahad hold 10 per cent each.

The transaction was first approved in February last year.

“Zain KSA will use the proceeds of the assets sale to maximise the benefit for its shareholders through a combination of debt reduction and the funding of its investment and its core business,” it said.

Zain KSA is the Saudi unit of Kuwait-based telecoms operator Zain Group.

The company also said the latest deal will result in an expected net profit of up to 1.1 billion riyals. It will be realised “over the period of transferring ownership of the towers in batches within a period not exceeding 18 months”.

The PIF plays an integral role in the kingdom's Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to diversify the Arab world's largest economy and reduce its reliance on oil.

In a five-year strategy that was announced in 2021, the fund aims to more than double the value of its assets under management to $1.07 trillion and commit $40 billion a year to develop the domestic economy until 2025.

The fund, chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,has stakes in global companies such as ride-hailing company Uber and is a cornerstone investor in SoftBank’s vision fund that invests in global technology companies.

In October, the PIF said it plans to invest 90 billion riyals in the broader Mena region to expand its portfolio of assets and boost regional economies.

Updated: January 09, 2023, 7:40 AM