STC's Tawal closes $1.33bn acquisition of telecom towers from Netherland's United Group

The financial impact of the deal will be disclosed in the third quarter

The deal was done through STC’s infrastructure unit Tawal. Reuters
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Saudi Telecom Company has completed its €1.22 billion ($1.33 billion) acquisition of Netherland-based United Group’s telecommunications tower assets.

The deal executed through STC’s infrastructure unit Tawal, was formally completed on August 24, the company said on Sunday in a statement to the Tadawul stock exchange, where its shares are traded.

The financial impact of the deal will be disclosed in the company’s third quarter earnings, which are expected to be released on October 30, 2023.

The purchase, which was first announced in April, marks Tawal’s first investment in Europe, which will boost its portfolio to more than 21,000 telecom towers across five countries.

Launched in April 2019, Tawal enables telecoms companies, government and private entities to boost infrastructure sharing that eventually helps to achieve lower costs and greater operational efficiencies.

Active in eight countries, United Group has about 11 million users and about 14,500 employees.

On Sunday, Tawal said it financed the cash part of the transaction through Sharia-compliant bank loans totalling $1.42 billion.

Last week, iot squared, a joint venture between STC and the Public Investment Fund, signed a binding agreement to acquire 100 per cent of technology company Machinestalk, which focuses on Internet of Things, amid the kingdom's digital transformation push.

The deal will add value for iot squared through Riyadh-based Machinestalk’s field services capabilities, technology, proprietary IoT platforms, internal development capabilities, local and international partner and customer relationships, the Saudi Press Agency reported reported at the time.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced more than $9 billion in investments in its technology sector to bolster digital transformation in preparation for the future economy.

The investments are led by a $2.1 billion commitment from Microsoft, which will build a super-scaler cloud in the kingdom, Abdullah Alswaha, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said in February.

They also include Oracle's plans to invest $1.5 billion to boost the kingdom's cloud-computing capacity and $400 million from China's Huawei to enhance Saudi Arabia's cloud infrastructure.

Updated: August 27, 2023, 10:01 AM