Bharti Airtel, the mother company of Airtel Malawi, says it will be leaving 14 nations in Africa within a year due to ‘poor business conditions’.
According to Nigeria’s Business Today website, the affected countries are Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Chad, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia Uganda and Seychelles
BloombergQuint quotes Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal as saying “the move would pare the size of operations in the continent and could be completed within a year….some of Bharti’s businesses in 14 African nations would be affected.”
‘’The telecom operator is faced with poor performance across those markets. Two years ago, when Airtel began talks to sell off its operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone to Orange, the company had stated that it wouldn’t be exiting Africa.’’ A report on Mobility Arena website reads in part.
It adds ‘’ In Airtel’s home country, India, Reliance Jio is giving them a big run for their money and messing things up for everyone. In Nigeria, Airtel is the only one of the big four mobile operators that is yet to launch a 4G LTE network. Perhaps the company does not see it as a profitable venture, given the present circumstances.’’
Earlier last year, the company had ruled out any plans of exiting the region.
Bharti Airtel was then reported to be exiting Africa in the wake of an agreement with Orange Telecoms. Orange and Bharti Airtel recently signed an agreement leading to Orange’s acquisition of Airtel’s operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.
Orange acquired 100 per cent of the two companies’ share capital. The consolidated revenue of the two companies is around EUR275 million. These acquisitions are to be implemented in partnership with Orange’s subsidiaries in the Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
the fear of exit from Africa, has also been triggered by the $170 million loss it recorded in the region last year. This subsequently resulted to job losses in Nigeria and other markets in the region
In 2015, the firm, which also cancelled a deal to sell more than 3,500 towers it owns in six African countries, said the 10.1 per cent rise in net profit it had was helped by rising data usage but continued losses in Africa, sustained competitive pressure on its voice business and fall in interconnect and roaming charges continued to drag.