International Finance Corporation – the private lending arm of the World Bank – continues with its investment spree in Myanmar.
IFC is proposing a a debt and equity investment of $30 million each – totalling $60 million – in Yangon-based independent tower asset firm, Irrawaddy Green Towers Ltd (IGT), incorporated in Singapore with operations in Myanmar.
In addition to this, IFC has also committed to mobilise a potential parallel senior debt financing of another $30 million to fire Irrawaddy’s $490-million tower development project at a time when Myanmar’s fourth telecom operator, a consortium backed by Vietnam’s Viettel, begins operations. The three existing telecom operators in Myanmar are MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo.
IGT is promoted by Alcazar Towers Limited and M1 Telecom. Alcazar Towers – owned by Alcazar Capital – and M1 Group are registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre.
IGT has so far constructed over 2,000 towers in Myanmar and it plans to reach almost 5,000 towers by 2018 through a build-to-suit contracts. As an independent tower operator, IGT can build and lease tower assets to multiple mobile operators. IGT’s total project cost is about $490 million for erecting towers in both urban and rural areas.
IFC stated, in its filing, that the telecom sector in Myanmar is underdeveloped with about 41 per cent subscribers as of the quarter one of 2016 and is low by regional and global standards.
Through this investment, IFC seeks to promote tower sharing practice, which will result in lower capital and operational costs for the sector.
In January 2016, IGT raised $122 million syndicated loan from European the Development Finance to build mobile communications infrastructure across the country.