Zain Uganda and other subsidiaries of telecom giants Zain in 14 other Africa countries have been sold to Bharti Airtel of India for a record breaking 10.7 billion US dollars transaction value.
Bharti Airtel, which is India’s leading telecom services provider announced on Wednesday it has completed the acquisition of Kuwait-based Zain Group’s mobile operations in 15 African countries, Uganda inclusive.
The takeover of Zain will make Bharti Airtel the largest telecom service provider in Africa and the fifth largest in the world.
‘We are delighted at the closure of this transformational deal for India and Bharti Airtel…Bharti is now among the five largest mobile operators in the world,” Bharti Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal told a press conference.
Mittal said the transaction, is the largest ever cross-border deal in emerging markets and will result in combined revenues of about 12.4 billion dollars and EBITA of over 4.7 billion dollars.
Zain which three years ago bought Celetel has over 42 million customers in the 15 African countries including Uganda, Kenya Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Zambia. According to a statement from Bharti Airtel, Zain is the telecom leader in 10 African countries and second in four of the countries where Zain operates.
As part of the deal, Bharti will be paying 8.3 billion dollars upfront and 700 million dollars after a year. The company would also take over about 1.7 billion dollars of Zain’s debts as on December 31, 2009.
But Bharti Airtel will be happy for finally getting its desired pie of the African telecom market, after trying twice to take over South Africa based telecom giants MTN for 23 billion US dollars.
Mittal says the acquisition of Zain interests means Bharti has a presence in 18 countries across Asia and Africa with a customer base of over 180 million.