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Bharti Airtel increases stake in Airtel Nigeria to 83.25%

airtel africa

Bharti Airtel International has acquired Econet Wireless Limited’s 4.2% stake in Airtel Nigeria, taking Bharti Airtel’s overall holding in Airtel Nigeria to 83.25%. In 2013, Bharti Airtel’s stake in its wholly subsidiary Airtel Nigeria was increased to 79.06%. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Note that Bharti Airtel originally held 65.7% stake Airtel Nigeria and entered the country after it signed a deal with Zain Africa in 2010. South Africa based Econet Wireless Limited’s stake in Airtel Nigeria was under arbitration since 2012, since Econet Wireless which held 5% stake in the joint venture Airtel Nigeria, believed that it had the first right to buy Zain Africa and had filed an appeal against Airtel.

In January 2012, the Nigerian High Court ordered Airtel to restore Econet Wireless’s 5% stake in the Joint Venture. Airtel had immediately filed an appeal against the judgment to stop Econet from holding its 5% stake as per the court judgment. A month later, Econet filed a counter affidavit opposing Airtel’s appeal. It also filed an additional lawsuit against Bharti Airtel seeking at least $3.1 billion damages over the ownership dispute. In May 2012, the Nigerian High Court however dismissed Airtel’s appeal.

Airtel’s Africa Financials

For the quarter ending September 2016 (Q3 FY17), Airtel had reported (pdf) total revenues of Rs 53,048 crore, down from Rs 62,721 in the same quarter last year. Airtel also posted and a net loss of Rs 6,158 crore in its African operations for Q3 FY17. It had reported to have 78.14 million subscribers in the African continent as of September 2016.

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Bharti Airtel currently operates in 15 countries in Africa including Nigeria, Chad, Congo B,   Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.

Image Credit: Flickr user jbdodane under CC BY-NC 2.0

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