The US Government's development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has commenced the initial disbursement of a $250 million loan to Apollo Towers Myanmar to fund the rollout of its mobile tower network. It is OPIC's first financing in Myanmar.
Investors TPG Growth, Tillman Global Holdings, and Myanmar Investments International Limited facilitated the loan process and will continue to partner with Apollo on its expansion. Apollo has built approximately 1,800 towers since commencing operations in 2014 and plans to build more than 2,000 additional towers in its next phase of development. During this time Myanmar's mobile phone penetration has increased from five percent to more than 75 percent.
Apollo provides services to all three licensed operators in Myanmar: Telenor of Norway, Ooredoo of Qatar, and Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications. As one of the earliest entrants in the local tower development market, it was able to secure very crucial and strategically valuable tower sites. It provides wireless operators coverage in key urban areas as well as along highway routes, and offers an integrated tower and power solution sourced from global suppliers.
TPG Growth's 2014 investment in Apollo was its first investment in Myanmar and, it claims, the first in the country by a leading Western private equity firm. U Thura Ko Ko, Managing Director of Myanmar-based YGA Capital Limited and Senior Advisor to TPG, said: 'It's an incredibly exciting time in Myanmar, and there is tremendous opportunity for investment. The advantage Myanmar has in having a late start, in terms of building infrastructure, is that we can develop in a way that is smart, efficient, and in collaboration with the right partners.'
OPIC mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances US foreign policy and national security priorities and helps US businesses gain footholds in emerging markets. It provides investors with financing, political risk insurance and support for private equity investment funds when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. It was established as an agency of the US Government in 1971.