Bharti Airtel to exit Ghana telecom market

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Airtel Ghana is set to exit the Ghanaian telecom market after its mother company, Bharti Airtel Limited in India approved the move at a board meeting on October 27, 2020.

A letter sent to the National Stock Exchange of India and signed by Deputy Company Secretary and Compliance Officer Rohit Krishan Puri sighted by the B&FT said the government of Ghana and AirtelTigo are in advance stages of conclusion of the agreement for transfer of the latter as a going concern

Bharti Airtel Ltd will sell 100% shares of its Ghana business for ₹184 crore to the country’s government, which will acquire customers, assets and agreed liabilities, the Sunil Mittal company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Government of Ghana and AirtelTigo, are in advance stages of conclusion of the agreement for transfer of the latter as a going concern.

“Airtel is voluntarily taking an impairment charge of ₹1,841 million ( ₹184 crore),” it said.

AirtelTigo is a joint venture between Airtel and Millicom International Cellular SA. India’s second largest telecom operator holds a non-controlling 49.95% share in AirtelTigo.

The transfer of shares was approved by Bharti Airtel’s board on Tuesday, which also cleared consolidated financial results for July-September. Airtel Africa Plc announced its standalone quarterly results last week.

Airtel Africa posted an 8.8% year-on-year (yoy) drop in net profit to $88 million in the quarter ended September due to higher expenses. The company had reported a net profit of $57 million in the quarter ended June.

The telco’s revenue grew 14.3% yoy on a reported basis and 19.6% in constant currency, at $965 million, driven by customer base growth of 12%, both in Q2 FY21 and half-year ended September, and average revenue per user (Arpu) growth of 6.8% in constant currency in July-September.

In August, Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit, called off the merger with Telkom Kenya Ltd citing challenges to secure regulatory approvals for the deal.

Airtel in February 2019 had said its Kenya unit agreed to acquire Telkom Kenya, the East African nation’s smallest telecom operator, in which the state still has a 40% shareholding, after a majority stake was sold in 2007.

Airtel Africa is the holding firm for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries, with Nigeria alone accounting for almost half of its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

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