Airtel Africa pushed on with a strategy of selling passive infrastructure assets to cut debt, agreeing to offload 1,400 towers in Tanzania for $175 million.

The buyer is a joint venture formed by investment companies SBA Communications and Paradigm Infrastructure. Airtel Tanzania will continue to maintain, develop and operate the assets under a lease agreement with the new owner.

In a stock market statement, Airtel Africa noted the move was part of an attempt to achieve an “an asset-light business model” and focus on “core subscriber-facing operations”.

Around $60 million of the proceeds will be used on improving network and sales infrastructure in the country, for distribution by authorities. The remainder will be used to reduce the operator group’s debt pile, which stood at $3.5 billion at the end of its 2021 financial year (31 March).

It expects the transaction to close in H2 of its current financial year.

Airtel Africa’s latest deal follows a multi-market asset sale to Helios Towers, announced in March. During the same month it also agreed to sell a stake in its mobile money division for $200 million.