Bharti to tip an extra $1b into Africa

Melissa Chua
25 May 2011

Bharti Airtel will pour $1 billion into its African operations this year, despite the impact the loss-making segment is having on its bottom line.

Bharti group chief Sunil Mittal told the Press Trust of India that the investment will go toward network expansion.

Mittal added Africa offered long term opportunities for Indian businesses in various sectors beyond telecom, and expressed his desire for more Indian businesses to invest in Africa.

Bharti had acquired Kuwait-based Zain’s African operations last year in a landmark $10.7 billion deal. The acquisition has so far pulled down the company's profits, as its African arm struggles to attain profitability.

Mittal remains optimistic about Bharti’s African business, saying most of the 16 countries it operates in are profitable. Mittal added the company needed to step up growth in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya.

Bharti’s is the world’s fifth largest operator by subscriber number with a 185 million strong customer base.

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