InfraCredit, an ‘AAA’-rated specialized infrastructure credit guarantee institution, on Friday announced its guarantee of the N10bn 10-year Series I Senior Guaranteed Fixed Rate Infrastructure Bonds Due 2032 for PAT Digital Infra Fund SPV Plc, under its N50bn Debt Issuance Programme.
PAT Digital Infra Fund SPV is a special purpose funding vehicle established by Pan African Towers Limited (PAT) as part of a capital-raising plan.
PAT is a digital telecommunications infrastructure company and wireless service facilitator, offering colocation and infrastructure sharing services to mobile network operators and internet service providers, according to a statement by the company.
PAT’s remarkable growth over the past four years of operation, the statement continued, “has been underpinned by its cost efficiency leadership and service quality philosophy.
“With over 1,000 long lease tenancy contracts from leading telecommunications service providers, especially tier-1 players like MTN, Airtel and 9mobile, PAT is the third largest and the only major local infrastructure service provider and wireless service facilitator in the Nigerian telecommunications subsector,” it added.
The company is a first-time issuer in the debt capital markets, despite which with the support of InfraCredit’s guarantee, its Series I Bonds were accorded a ‘AAA’ long term credit rating by Agusto and Co. and GCR.”
This, the company stressed, reflects “the high degree of creditworthiness and the robust quality of the Bonds.”
The Bond issue was oversubscribed by 127% by ten institutional investors, including the domestic pension funds and insurance companies, while proceeds will be used to finance the roll-out of new environmentally friendly tower sites to enhance telecommunication coverage and service quality, especially in underserved communities. Additionally, PAT says it aims to apply some of the proceeds towards reducing carbon footprints in the sector, by swapping diesel generators with renewable energy sources.
The bonds were priced off the yield on the comparable FGN Sovereign Bonds, providing a unique opportunity for pension fund managers to diversify their portfolios with “AAA”-rated, risk-adjusted return yielding assets.
The statement quoted the Chairman of Pan African Towers Limited, Wole Adeleke as noting PAT’s ambition “to be the number one indigenous wholly owned digital telecommunications infrastructure and wireless service facilitator in Nigeria.”
Over last three years that we commenced business, he continued, “we have demonstrated capacity to achieve faster growth in the number of our rental assets, with solid top and bottom-line performance supported by long-term contracts with leading market leaders in mobile telecommunication and internet service in Nigeria.
“And, we are pleased that InfraCredit was able to provide full credit enhancement for this debut bond issuance programme.
“We are very passionate about the environment and part of the proceeds from the Bond Issue will be utilized to green our network of Build-to-Suite Towers to reduce carbon emission; an objective that aligns with that of our major customers,” he stressed.
For the Chief Executive Officer of InfraCredit, Chinua Azubike, “we are pleased to have supported Pan African Towers, Nigeria’s fast growing indigenous digital infrastructure service provider’s first naira issuance in the local debt capital markets for expansion and growth that will also reduce its carbon emissions. We are also proud to support the ambitions of Nigeria’s National Development Plan to facilitate the formation of private capital investments in digital infrastructure that will accelerate job creation and local economic growth.
“The need for digital connectivity is more essential than ever as Nigeria accounts for over 27% of all internet usage in Africa, and much of this internet access are powered by telecommunication infrastructure service providers like PAT.
“Thid transaction strongly demonstrates the especially important role of the local pension funds in the allocation of long-term domestic credit to the private sector for sustainable development,” he added.
FCMB Capital Markets Limited acted as Lead Issuing House/Bookrunner, while Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Limited, FSL Securities Limited and Vetiva Capital Management Limited acted as Joint Issuing Houses and Bookrunners for the transaction.