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Anxiety as Nigeria missing in new Bharti Airtel’s plan for consolidation in Africa

Strong indication has emerged showing that earlier speculations that resilient multinational telecoms giant, Bharti Airtel, has future plans to either leave some markets including Nigeria or merge with another company by way of reducing stakes is imminent.

This is coming on the heels of the fact that it has listed six technically non-profitable African markets for evaluation of its survival possibility.

According to a report by The Economic Times (ET), the ongoing review will weigh chances of stakes recalibration in terms of reduction or mergers.

Dependable sources close to the company, averred that the company will be looking at Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania as countries where it could potentially benefit from consolidation excluding Nigeria where is it currently ranking amongst the top players.

Business Hilights recalls that earlier in the year and January, in particular, the company’s chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal told Bloomberg that Airtel was considering the merger or sale of some of its African interests to reduce company debt.

A report published by Nigerian Political Economist quoted that a statement issued by the ET recently confirmed that the operator was reviewing its options on the continent, focusing on markets where it was on a “weak footing” and added clearly that it was not planning to exit any of its 15 African markets.

However, aside, the six locations identified, the company operates across a range of countries in Africa. A section of industry analysts estimate Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and the Seychellesas its strongest in the region, but the company has not shown any sign that there are some African economies it has exempted from possible exit or mergers after all.

The proposed review of its presence in the region comes after its African unit reported a series of quarterly losses.

Statistics show that in the company’s latest financial statement, covering the three months to the end of December 2016, its African loss stood at $93 million, up from $74 million in the same period the previous year.

Its next quarterly results statement, summarising its performance in the first three months of 2017, is scheduled for May 9.

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