IHS Towers, the world’s fifth-largest independent TowerCo, said the naira’s devaluation in June this year cost it $31 million. The company has revised the expected revenue for the year downwards but will not change how much it plans to spend.
After four consecutive quarters of revenue growth, IHS Towers recorded a 9.4% decline compared to Q1 2023. IHS says the decline in revenue, which put it $46 million below the last quarter’s revenue was due to the naira’s devaluation. “Our expectation for revenue would have otherwise increased by $31 million had the average FX rates previously assumed in our guidance remained unchanged,” Sam Darwish, IHS Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
“We are encouraged by the recent policy changes implemented in Nigeria that are intended to put the country on a better economic path. In the near-term, however, these changes will cause some anticipated friction, including the significant devaluation of the Nigerian Naira that occurred in mid-June,” the statement read in part.
67% of IHS Towers’ revenue in the second quarter of 2023 came from Nigeria, the largest market of the telco infrastructure company, which also operates in 10 other countries, including Brazil, South Africa, Zambia, Egypt and Kuwait, its Middle Eastern foothold.
In June, Nigeria’s new president, Bola Tinubu, instituted reforms that sent bank stocks and local prices soaring. The decision to loosen controls on exchange rates hit several firms operating in Nigeria, which reported lower revenues on the back of having to restate numbers in line with the newly managed floating naira-dollar rates. IHS Towers’ biggest customer in its biggest market, MTN Nigeria, also reported a foreign exchange loss in its 2023 second-quarter report which dragged profits for the period down by 64%. IHS Towers and MTN Group are locked in a boardroom fight over MTN’s request for more control of the tower company. MTN Group holds 26% of IHS Towers but only controls 20% of the voting share.
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However, the naira’s devaluation was not all bad news for IHS Towers as it reduced its debt by $155 million. On the other hand, the company’s cash balance was reduced by $19 million due to the devaluation.
IHS reviews and resets exchange rates quarterly. The company expects to have a clearer picture of the naira’s devaluation by the end of the year.