Bharti Airtel to acquire remaining 30% stake in Bangladesh’s Warid Telecom

India’s largest private telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd is acquiring the remaining 30 per cent stake in Bangladesh-based Warid Telecom for an undisclosed amount, according to a stock market disclosure. 

“Bharti Airtel Holdings (Singapore) Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Ltd, and the Warid Group have reached an agreement, wherein, Bharti will acquire 30 per cent stake of Warid in Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. With this, Bharti will own 100 per cent of Airtel Bangladesh Ltd. Bharti had acquired 70 per cent stake in Warid Telecom, Bangladesh, in January 2010,” the company said in the filing on Thursday. 

Since 2010, Airtel has been holding management and board control of Warid, when it acquired a majority stake in the firm for $300 million and re-branded operations to Airtel. 

The deal comes just a few days after Bharti Airtel struck a deal with the Warid Group to acquire Warid Telecom Uganda Ltd for an undisclosed sum, to strengthen its presence further in Africa as the second largest telecom firm in the continent. 

As per Airtel’s last quarter report, the company had 5.8 million customers in Bangladesh at the end of December 2012. It had mobile services across 64 districts of the country with a distribution network of around 89,000 retailers across the country. 

Delhi-headquartered Bharti Airtel provides mobile services in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh besides the African continent, and had more than 269 million customers at the end of March 2013. 

The company, which counts Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek as a shareholder, reported a sharp drop in earnings for its fourth quarter ended March 31, 2013. 

The consolidated net income almost halved to Rs 509 crore (Q4 FY12: Rs 1,006 crore), impacted by higher depreciation and amortisation costs (Rs 515 crore), net interest cost (Rs 132 crore), dividend distribution tax (Rs 37 crore) and higher deferred tax charge due to hike in surcharge (Rs 96 crore). 

Revenues in Q4 on a consolidated basis stood at Rs 20,448 crore, up 9.2 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year, led by strong growth of 71 per cent in mobile internet in India, 24 per cent in digital TV, 17 per cent in B2B Airtel business and 12.6 per cent rise in Africa revenues. 

Consolidated EBITDA margin at 31.7 per cent improved from 30.6 per cent on a sequential basis, driven by expansion of EBITDA margin in India.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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