stc group makes a move into Europe through its infrastructure arm “TAWAL”
- TAWAL drives stc’s international expansion with EUR 1.220 bn acquisition of infrastructure assets from United Group across Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia
- 20-year master services agreement with United Group underpins future growth through rollout plan of more than 2,000 additional sites
- Sale-and-lease-back transaction expected to close in 2023, subject to regulatory approvals
RIYADH, April 20, 2023 – stc Group, an engine of digital transformation in the MENA region, announces today that its ICT infrastructure subsidiary, TAWAL, has signed an agreement to acquire United Group’s telecommunications tower assets.
The agreement, valued at EUR 1.220 bn supports stc Group’s ambitious strategy to expand its international footprint in key markets with significant growth potential.
Marking TAWAL’s first step in Europe, this move represents a major milestone in its international expansion journey and stc Group’s growth ambitions which have been active growing in the ICT adjacencies including recent investments in ICT, IoT, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Fintech and digital entertainment through its subsidiaries.
Following completion of the acquisition, TAWAL will own and operate more than 4,800 sites across Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia (all European Union member states, two of which are already members of the Eurozone), providing the full range of passive infrastructure services ranging from ground-based towers, rooftops small cells to in-building-solutions. As part of the 20-year master services agreement with United Group, TAWAL will deploy over 2,000 additional sharable sites, while co-location relationships with other mobile network operators will be maintained and expanded, enabling stc Group to drive digital transformation through providing world-class connectivity.
Olayan Alwetaid, Chief Executive Officer, stc Group, said: “Our agreement with United Group represents an exciting new chapter for TAWAL and the wider stc Group. The agreement is a significant milestone in our ambitious growth strategy and the expansion of our international footprint. We are already leading the transformation of Saudi Arabia’s digital capabilities and this transaction reinforces our commitment to investing in best-in-class technology and infrastructure to lead the way in enabling the world to connect.”
Mohammed Alhakbani, Chief Executive Officer, TAWAL, said, “We are delighted to partner with United Group in our first investment in the European market. The partnership supports our goal to continue to provide innovative and efficient ICT infrastructure solutions to our partners and deliver the quality of services we are renowned for.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval from the relevant authorities in Bulgaria and Slovenia. Upon completion, TAWAL’s operations in the European market will be rebranded as “TAWAL Europe” and will serve as TAWAL’s platform for any future expansion in Europe.
TAWAL currently owns a portfolio of over 16,000 telecom towers. The company is actively supporting digital transformation plans in Saudi Arabia, expanding its reach across new cities and rural areas in the Kingdom and actively rolling out smart-city-ready technologies such as camouflage telecom towers, smart poles capable of hosting 5G and IoT applications, in-building solutions, and small cells.