Airtel flicr

Telecom operator Airtel and Robi Axiata have signed an agreement to merge their operations in Bangladesh, the company said in a notification in the Bombay Stock Exchange. According to the deal,  Axiata will hold 68.3% controlling stake in the combined entity, while Bharti will hold 25%. The remaining 6.7% will be held by the existing shareholder, NTT DOCOMO of Japan.

Following the merger, Robi will serve approximately 40 million customers  and will overtake Banglalink Digital Communications as the second largest telecom company in Bangladesh.

The merger follows exclusive talks between Airtel and Robi Axiata in September.

Airtel entered Bangladesh by acquiring 70% stake in Warid Telecom in 2010, while in 2013, it picked up the remaining 30% too. Note that Robi’s parent group, Malayasia-based Axiata Group Berhad, also owns 19.79% stake in Idea Cellular.

Airtel’s Bangladesh operations and financials

Airtel reports its Bangladesh and Sri Lanka operations under South Asia head. At the end of the December quarter,  Airtel was present in 64 district with a distribution network comprising of 158,000 retailers across Bangladesh. The company also has more than 2,700 3G sites in the country.

Revenue from the region stood at Rs 413.5 crore for the Q3 FY16, a increase of 9% as compared to Rs 378.8 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Data revenue grew by 66.3% to Rs 55.3 crore as compared to Rs 33.2 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.

Data customers represented 27.4% of the total South Asia customer base in the quarter as compared to 23.3% in the corresponding quarter last year.  Total data consumption during the quarter increased by 164% to 7.26 billion MB as compared to 2.74 billion MB in the corresponding quarter last year. Data usage per customer also increased to 828 MB, a growth of 55% as compared to 535 MB in the corresponding quarter last year.

Robi Axiata’s Bangladesh operations and financials

For the third quarter of 2015, Robi Axiata reported revenues of 13,409 million BDT (Bangladesh Taka), an increase of 10.38% from the corresponding quarter last year. Data contributed 10% of the total revenue. Robi Axiata reported a profit after tax of 1,131 million BDT, a fall of 13.2% from the same quarter last year.

Image credit: Arti Sandhu under  CC BY SA 2.0