Ooredoo, Zain, TASC Towers create $2.2bn tower company

Mobile voice and data services operator Zain has disclosed the finalization of definitive agreements involving Ooredoo Group, Zain Group, and TASC Towers Holding, establishing the most extensive tower company in the MENA region through a cash and share transaction.The expanded tower company, comprising around 30,000 towers, possesses an estimated combined current enterprise value of $2.2 billion (€2bn). In the newly restructured entity, Ooredoo and Zain will maintain an equal substantial stake of 49.3% each, achieved through an asset and cash equalization process. The founders of TASC will retain the remaining shareholding through Digital Infrastructure Assets and continue to oversee the business operations.Anticipated to generate run-rate revenues close to $500 million annually, the tower entity is expected to achieve an EBITDAaL (after leases) of over $200 million annually upon the completion of closures in various countries, including Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Algeria, and Tunisia.This transaction signing represents a significant milestone in realizing crucial aspects of both Ooredoo and Zain's strategies, emphasizing the evolution into smart telcos and the creation of a value-focused portfolio.Functioning as an independent tower company and harnessing the collective assets of Ooredoo and Zain, TASC will provide Passive Infrastructure as a Service (PIaaS) through a partnership model. This offers mobile network operators a capital-efficient alternative for building, owning, and managing their passive infrastructure in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner. The partnership model is designed to meet the needs of other mobile network operators aiming to cut costs, reduce carbon emissions, and address the rising demand for sites driven by double-digit growth in mobile data consumption across the region.Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo, MD and Group CEO, Ooredoo; Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman & Group CEO; and Iyad Mazhar, Founder & CEO of TASC, said in a joint statement: “This pioneering deal embarks us on an exciting journey together as it results in the establishment of the region’s largest independent Tower company, placing the MENA region on the world telecom tower map. It also positions the region as an advanced player in the global telecoms landscape, and we anticipate wide-ranging positive implications for the region – from economic growth and upgraded connectivity to technological improvements and increased global relevance.”“This strategic transaction will unlock significant shareholder value through higher earnings multiples, as well as ensure capital efficiency, optimising balance sheets for our respective companies and creating new possibilities for investors. The deal also demonstrates our joint dedication to supporting the reduction of the region’s carbon footprint, contributing to our vision of reshaping the telecommunications sector by building a more sustainable ecosystem and ensuring a better-connected future for our communities across the region,” the CEOs said.Ooredoo and Zain will retain their respective active infrastructure, encompassing wireless communication antennas, intelligent software, and intellectual property related to managing their telecom networks.The expected timeline for completing this transaction envisions initial market closings in 2024. The phased implementation, tailored for each market and conforming to regulatory environments, is contingent on regulatory approvals, with Ooredoo's tower network in Oman undergoing a standalone process.

64% of organizations across the Middle East are implementing ESG in 2023

Dubai, UAE: Green Future Project (GFP), a B-Corp providing end-to-end solutions for organizations to develop and implement a corporate sustainability strategy, has observed an increase in the number of UAE-based companies looking to implement an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policy. Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at GFP, Zain Tarawneh, explains the factors that are contributing to this environmental reformation.According to a recent survey, 64% of organizations across the Middle East have adopted a formal ESG strategy; this reflects a significant increase from the previously reported 18% in 2022. Moreover, 73% of companies have made a carbon-neutral commitment or are working towards one while 40% are hopeful that Conference of the Parties 28 (COP28) will lead to governments improving ESG infrastructure and providing incentives for green growth.Zain commented: “There’s both a bottom-up and top-down movement happening, the former being pushed by mindful changes in consumer behaviour, and the latter by companies implementing reformative frameworks such as ESG and environmental policy. As a result, businesses are demonstrating an increased sense of responsibility as they strive to make a meaningful impact while remaining both profitable and competitive. ”As COP28 is set to kick off in the UAE at the end of this month, the country will not only play a key role in furthering its green agenda but also spark meaningful dialogue among key industry stakeholders and government entities to accelerate regional and global progress. With only 13% of businesses accessing sustainable finance, challenges remain with an ongoing green skills gap.“Nearly half of the organisations across the Middle East, 46% to be exact, are self-funding their ESG activities. While this is a welcome sign to usher in a greener future, more innovative green financing opportunities do exist and should be sought out to unlock the region’s full potential and enable the realization of its climate ambitions. COP28 will be an ideal platform for discussing such topics and ultimately provide benefits on a global scale,” added Zain.GFP is helping advance the UAE’s green objectives while contributing to key governmental mandates such as UAE Net Zero 2050. The company is working with UAE-based organizations in sectors including digital banking, hospitality, real estate, and finance to help them pioneer sustainable action across the region. Some notable live projects and partnerships include collaborations with companies such as Lune, Atteline, Gulf Capital, Silkhaus, and Sharjah Sustainable City[2]. To date, GFP has helped over 100 businesses globally in its decarbonization journeys while also planting 427,152 trees, protecting 85.48 hectares of rainforest, planting 229 corals for reef restoration, offsetting more than 26,905.62 tonnes of CO2, and producing over 14,675,674 kW of renewable energy

Zain title sponsor of ‘Khaleeji Zain 25’

Zain, a leading mobile telecom innovator in seven markets across the Middle East and Africa, will be the title sponsor of the 25th Arab Gulf Cup silver jubilee edition, entitled “Khaleeji Zain 25”, to be held in Basra governorate, Iraq between 6-19 January 2023.Zain is a passionate supporter of youth and sports tournaments across the region, and the reintroduction of international football activities to Iraq re-establishes the country’s presence on the regional football map once more.The Arab Gulf Cup was last hosted in Iraq in 1979 when the country won the title, and 44 years later, the tournament triumphantly returns. The competition is held once every two years in one of the member states of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation, namely Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE or Yemen.Supporting this milestone occasion and welcoming the teams and delegations participating in the tournament, Zain launched a campaign entitled “Eldenya Basra”, emphasizing the importance of this event and highlighting the joint efforts undertaken to maximize youth empowerment, sports development, and the return of regional competitions to Iraq.As part of its “Eldenya Basra” campaign running on social media platforms and media channels, Zain released a special song performed by Iraqi artist, Mahmoud El Turki to reflect Basra’s rich cultural background and historic links to the Gulf countries.“Khaleeji Zain 25” is organized and supervised by the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation in Basra, with live telecast and streaming available on various TV and online media channels. Following the successful hosting of the World Cup in the region, “Khaleeji Zain 25” will bring together fans, officials and the best Gulf players on Iraqi soil in Basra.