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Helios Towers sees earnings rise in first half, shrugs off coronavirus pandemic

The company attributed the higher EBITDA to tenancy growth combined with “continued improvements in operational efficiency"

Helios Towers PLC - Helios Towers sees earnings rise in first half, shrugs off pandemic

Helios Towers PLC (LON:HTWS) has reported higher earnings in the first half of its current year, saying it has experienced “no significant operational impact from [coronavirus] to date”.

For the six months ended June 30, 2020, the Africa-focused telecom towers provider reported adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of US$109.1mln, 10% higher than the previous year, while revenues increased by 7% to US$204mln.

Helios attributed the revenue growth to an expansion in the number of its sites and tenancies, which rose 3% and 6% respectively during the period, while the higher earnings reflected the tenancy growth combined with “continued improvements in operational efficiency".

Looking ahead, the group said its first half had been “broadly in line with expectations” and as a result, the 2020 guidance remained unchanged.

In a statement, Helios chief executive Kash Pandya said: "The first half of 2020 saw our business deliver in line with expectations, in the face of seismic disruptions to the wider global commercial backdrop due to the [coronavirus] impact. We have delivered strong top‐line growth and Adjusted EBITDA performance which is testament to the resilience as well as the power and leverage of our operating model, and to the approach of our teams in central functions and in the field.

"We anticipate that these attributes will continue to serve the business well going forward, not least in the near‐term as the challenges of the pandemic currently remain evident."

The CEO added that the company had optimised its funding structure in the second quarter, including issuance of US$750mln senior notes, to “ensure Helios Towers is primed to execute on the right growth opportunities for our shareholders” including a recent agreement with Free Senegal, the second-largest mobile operator in Senegal, to acquire its 1,220 tower portfolio for around US$189mln in cash.

“We are very excited about the Senegalese opportunity which aligns perfectly with our strategic ambitions of broadening our footprint within the African telecoms infrastructure market", Pandya said.

In a separate announcement, Helios also said it has appointed Carole Wamuyu Wainaina, chief operating officer at the Africa50 Infrastructure Fund, as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect.

In mid-morning trading on Thursday, Helios shares were down 0.9% at 176.2p.

--Adds share price--

Quick facts: Helios Towers PLC

Price: 164 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.64 billion

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