Bharti to sell Sri Lanka operations to Etisalat

Bharti to sell Sri Lanka operations to Etisalat

Fiona Chau  |   December 18, 2013
telecomasia.net
Indian mobile carrier Bharti Airtel is close to selling its operations in Sri Lanka to UAE-based telco Etisalat.
 
The Hindu Business Line reports the two companies have been negotiating for over five months, and have now advanced to the final stages.
 
Sources close to the company said an announcement from Airtel is expected before the return of Manoj Kohli, managing director and chief executive officer (International) of the company in January. Kohli is also in charge of the company’s operations in Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
 
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh comprise Bharti Airtel’s South Asia sector in terms of results. The region generated EBITDA of $7 million in the six months to end-September – Bharti’s fiscal 1H -, overturning a $15 million loss in the comparable period of 2012.
 
However, Hindu Business Line reports the Sri Lankan operation has garnered less than two million subscribers since 2009, despite investment of $300 million, suggesting much of the growth is generated by Bangladesh, where Bharti Airtel bought a stake in established operator TK.
 
Bharti Airtel places much of the blame for its Sri Lankan problems on local regulations, which it claims does not give it enough flexibility on tariffs, and also cites frequency interference problems.

 

Fiona Chau

 

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