New Delhi, March 13: Bharti Airtel has raised its stake in its Nigerian unit to 79.06 per cent.
“Bharti Airtel Nigeria B.V., has acquired an additional 13.36 per cent equity stake in Airtel Networks Ltd, Nigeria from certain existing shareholders. With this acquisition, Bharti Airtel Nigeria B.V. now owns 79.06 per cent equity stake in Airtel Networks Ltd, Nigeria,” the company said.
Airtel did not divulge the price it paid and name the shareholders from whom it bought the shares.
The move will strengthen Airtel’s control over its Nigerian assets.
Airtel’s ownership of the Nigerian entity was entangled in legal battles. Econet Wireless, which owns a 5 per cent stake in the entity, has moved court and sought $3.1 billion in damages after opposing the sale of the Nigerian business.
Bharti Airtel acquired Kuwaiti telecom company Zain’s African assets in 2010 for $10.7 billion (Rs 57,887 crore). Zain’s African assets are spread across 17 countries, with nearly 5,000 employees on its rolls. Airtel Nigeria alone covers over 1,500 towns and 14,000 communities across the country’s six geographical zones.
Airtel has around 23 million subscribers in Nigeria with an around 20 per cent market share. The total Nigerian market size is over 100 million. The country contributes about 10 per cent to Airtel’s consolidated profit.
Telecom firms owe the government Rs 9,636.34 crore as outstanding amount for using spectrum and licence fees, Parliament was informed today.
Bharti Airtel owes the maximum amount of Rs 3,275.56 as spectrum use charges and licence fee followed by state-run BSNL (Rs 2,092.95 crore), minister of state for communication and IT Milind Deora said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Reliance Communications owes the third highest amount of Rs 1,656.23 crore, followed by Vodafone (Rs 1,122.01 crore), Tata Teleservices (Rs 458.32 crore) and Idea Cellular (Rs 428.06 crore), Deora added.