Government to buy Airtel Tigo as Bharti Airtel exits Ghana business

Image courtesy: GBAfrica

GHANA – Airtel Africa which operates in Ghana under that joint venture – AirtelTigo – has announced that it will sell its assets and leave the West African country as certain government policies have been detrimental to its business model in that country.

“The parties are in advance stages of discussions for conclusion of the commercial agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo on a going concern basis to the Government of Ghana,” Airtel said in a statement.

The proposed deal would result in the government of Ghana acquiring 100% shares of Airtel Ghana Ltd, also known as AirtelTigo, along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities.

AirtelTigo is a joint venture between ‘Airtel’ and ‘Millicom’ wherein Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95% share in AirtelTigo. Airtel had merged its Ghana operations with Millicom in 2017, resulting in the second largest mobile carrier in the country.

The proposed deal would result in the government of Ghana acquiring 100% shares of Airtel Ghana Ltd, also known as AirtelTigo, along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities.

The merger was approved by the regulator subject to the condition that African country’s government will have the option to pick up a stake in the new entity in future.

But the joint venture has fallen behind MTN and Vodacom in the country. Airtel has previously said that it will look at consolidation opportunities, including exit, in markets where it is not among the top two players. According to the quarterly results ending September 30, Airtel said its Ghana operations had a customer base of 5.1 million.

Bharti Airtel’s Africa operations clocked in a net profit of US$88 million for the second quarter this fiscal, down 8.3% on-year, hurt by higher net finance costs. But consolidated revenue stood at US$965 million, increasing 14.3% from corresponding quarter last year.

Meanwhile, Airtel Africa has announced the appointment of Kelly Bayer Rosmarin as a non-executive director replacing Arthur Lang who will step down as a non-executive director on the same date.

A notice at the Nigerian Stock Exchange signed by Simon O’Hara, Group Company Secretary said Ms. Bayer Rosmarin’s appointment is by nomination of the controlling shareholder pursuant to the terms of relationship agreement dated 17 June 2019 between the Company, Bharti Airtel, Airtel Africa Mauritius Limited, the majority shareholder and an indirect subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, and Bharti Telecom.

Ms. Bayer Rosmarin is currently CEO of Singtel Optus and Consumer Australia. She was previously with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where she held several senior positions and varied portfolios, before being appointed as Group Executive of Institutional Banking and Markets.

Ms Bayer Rosmarin is recognised for leveraging technology, data and analytics to develop leading customer services and experience. Ms. Bayer Rosmarin was named in the Top 10 Businesswomen in Australia and the Top 25 Women in Asia Pacific Finance and holds a variety of Board and advisory responsibilities.

Ms. Bayer Rosmarin has, since February 2019, served as an Independent non-executive director on the Board of OpenPay, listed on the ASX. She will continue in that role. Openpay is a payments technology company based in Australia.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Arthur, who joined the Board in October 2018 and supported the company through its IPO, for his significant contribution to the success of our strategy to build Airtel Africa into a market leading mobile service provider and wish him well for the future,” Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal commented on the directorate change.

“I am delighted that Kelly has agreed to join the Airtel Africa Board and we very much look forward to working closely with her.”

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