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January 18, 2019

Is Airtel in plans to exit the Kenya market?

Airtel Logo
Airtel Logo

Bharti Airtel Limited, mother firm to Airtel Kenya is planning to list a quarter of its equity in its Africa unit and sale same in an exit strategy to cut on debt burden.

Report appearing in an Indian press indicates that the firm is planning to raise as much as $1.5 billion (Sh150 billion) and sell part of its stake in the $14.6 billion business to pare $4.6 billion from its net borrowings over the next three years.

Quoting undisclosed source privy to the deal, the media said that listing will be done either in London or South Africa

This is the latest hint pointing to the telcos exist strategy from some of its African markets, Kenya included.

In December last year, Bharti Airtel said it will cede at least 20 per cent of its stake in Airtel Kenya to local investors before a planned full exit from the country as part of strict conditions by the industry regulator.

Bharti chairman Sunil Bharti told Indian media that the company is planning to exit Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzanian and was currently in active discussions exploring a mix of intra-country sale, purchase, or merger.

Speaking during the World Economic Forum in Davos, the chairman indicated that the firm was consideration a stake sales or mergers to some of its Africa operations to cut debt.

Airtel Africa statement later confirmed Bharti’s statement but declined to disclose specific markets

“Mergers and acquisitions continue to be the norm for any multinational organisation and they affect all global organisations in equal measures as and when they happen,” said Airtel Africa managing director and chief executive Raghunath Mandava

Airtel Kenya could not be reached for comment.

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