Airtel Africa

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Airtel Africa
Airtel Africa plc
TypePLC
IndustryTelecommunications
PredecessorZain Africa B.V.
Founded8 June 2010; 12 years ago (2010-06-08)
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK[1]
Area served
Africa
Products
ServicesAfrica's leading provider of prepaid, postpaid mobile, & 4G services.
RevenueIncrease $4.724 billion (2022)[2]
Increase $1.535 billion (2022)[2]
Increase $0.755 billion (2022)[2]
Total assetsIncrease $10.364 billion (2022)[2]
Total equityIncrease $3.649 billion (2022)[2]
OwnerBharti Airtel (67.2%)
Subsidiaries
Websiteairtel.africa

Airtel Africa plc, commonly known as (d/b/a) Airtel, is a UK-based multinational company that provides telecommunications and mobile money services in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East, Central and West Africa. Airtel Africa is majority owned by the Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel. Airtel Africa offers mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally. Airtel Nigeria is the most profitable unit of Airtel Africa, due to its cheap data plans in Nigeria. As of March 2019, Airtel had over 99 million subscribers in the continent.[3] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.[4]

History[edit]

MTN Group merger negotiations[edit]

In May 2008, it emerged that Airtel was exploring the possibility of buying the MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company with operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Financial Times reported that Bharti was considering offering US$45 billion for a 100% stake in MTN, which would be the largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian firm. However, both sides emphasised the tentative nature of the talks. The Economist magazine noted, "If anything, Bharti would be marrying up", as MTN had more subscribers, higher revenues and broader geographic coverage.[5] However, the talks fell apart as MTN Group tried to reverse the negotiations by making Bharti almost a subsidiary of the new company.[6]

In May 2009, Airtel confirmed that it was again in talks with MTN and both companies agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively by 31 July 2009.[7] Airtel said "Bharti Airtel Ltd is pleased to announce that it has renewed its effort for a significant partnership with MTN Group".[8] The exclusivity period was extended twice up to 30 September 2009. Talks eventually ended without agreement.[9]

A solution was proposed where the new company would be listed on 2 stock exchanges, one in South Africa and one in India. However, dual-listing of companies is not permitted by Indian law.[10]

Zain Africa acquisition[edit]

In Jun 2010, Bharti struck a deal to buy Zain's mobile operations in 15 African countries for $8.97 billion, in India's second-biggest overseas acquisition after Tata Steel's US$13 billion buy of Corus in 2007. Bharti Airtel completed the acquisition of on 8 June 2010, making Airtel the world's fifth-largest wireless carrier by subscriber base. Airtel reported that its revenues for the fourth quarter of 2010 grew by 53% to $3.2 billion compared to the previous year. The newly acquired Africa division contributed $911 million to the total. However, net profits dropped by 41% from $470 million in 2009 to $291 million 2010 due to a $188 million increase in radio spectrum charges in India and an increase of $106 million in debt interest.[11]

Rebranding[edit]

Airtel Tanzania HQ

On 18 November 2010, Airtel rebranded itself in India in the first phase of a global rebranding strategy. The company unveiled a new logo with 'airtel' written in lower case. Designed by London-based brand agency, The Brand Union, the new logo is the letter 'a' in lowercase, with 'airtel' written in lowercase under the logo.[12]

Warid Uganda acquisition[edit]

Airtel acquired the Uganda business of Warid in 2013.[13]

Telecom Seychelles acquisition[edit]

On 11 August 2010, Bharti Airtel announced that it would acquire 100% stake in Telecom Seychelles for US$62 million taking its global presence to 19 countries. Telecom Seychelles began operations in 1998 and operates 3G, Fixed Line, ship to shore services satellite telephony, among value added services like VSAT and Gateways for International Traffic across the Seychelles under the Airtel brand. The company has over 57% share of the mobile market of Seychelles.[14] Airtel announced plans to invest US$10 million in its fixed and mobile telecoms network in the Seychelles over three years, whilst also participating in the Seychelles East Africa submarine cable (SEAS) project. The US$34 million SEAS project is aimed at improving the Seychelles' global connectivity by building a 2,000 km undersea high-speed link to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.[15][14]

Tigo Rwanda acquisition[edit]

Bharti Airtel was awarded a licence to operate mobile services by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency in September 2011.[16] Airtel Rwanda Limited launched services on 30 March 2012.[17] Airtel announced that it had reached an agreement with competitor Millicom to acquire complete control of Tigo Rwanda at a reported cost of $60-70 million in December 2017.[18][19] The acquisition made Airtel the second largest mobile operator in Rwanda with a 40% market share.[20] The company operated as Airtel-Tigo following the merger, until it was rebranded as Airtel Rwanda in January 2020.[21][22]

IPO[edit]

Bharti Airtel announced on 4 June 2019 that it would seek to raise $750 million through an initial public offering for Airtel Africa under which the company would be listed on the London Stock Exchange.[23][24]

Countries of operations[edit]

Airtel Africa operates in the following countries:

Country Subsidiary Remarks
 Chad Airtel Chad Airtel Chad is the #1 operator with 43% market share.[25]
 Democratic Republic of the Congo Airtel DRC Airtel had 1 million customers in 2014.[26]
 Gabon Airtel Gabon Airtel Gabon has 829,000 customers and its market share stood at 61%.[27]
 Kenya Airtel Kenya Airtel Kenya is the second largest operator and has about 9 million customers.[28]
 Madagascar Airtel Madagascar Airtel holds second place in the mobile telecom market in Madagascar, has a 39% market share and over 1.4 million customers.[25]
 Malawi Airtel Malawi Airtel Malawi is the market leader with a market share of 72%.[25]
 Niger Airtel Niger Airtel Niger is the market leader with a 68% market share.[25]
 Nigeria Airtel Nigeria Airtel is the 3rd largest operator with 33,376,556 subscribers, behind Globacom (37,268,483) and MTN Nigeria (61,280,293) as of Nov 2016.[29]
 Republic of the Congo Airtel Congo B Airtel Congo is the market leader with a 55% market share.[25]
 Rwanda Airtel Rwanda Airtel launched services in Rwanda on 30 March 2012.[30]
 Seychelles Airtel Seychelles Airtel has over 55% market share of mobile market in Seychelles.[31]
 Tanzania Airtel Tanzania Airtel Tanzania is the market leader with a 30% market share.[32]
 Uganda Airtel Uganda Airtel Uganda stands as the #2 operator with a market share of 38%.[25]
 Zambia Airtel Zambia Airtel Zambia has a 40.5% market share.[33]

Former operations[edit]

Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone[edit]

Airtel began operating in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone after acquiring Zain's Africa operations in June 2010.[34] Airtel and French telecom company Orange S.A. signed an agreement in July 2015 for the sale of the former's operations in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Chad and Congo-Brazzaville to the latter. In January 2016, Airtel announced that it had entered an agreement to sell its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to Orange. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but analysts estimated it to be US$800–900 million. The agreement on the sale of operation in Chad and Congo-Brazzaville lapsed.[35][36] Orange assumed control of operations in Burkina Faso in June 2016 and Sierra Leone in July 2016.[37][38][39][40]

Ghana[edit]

Airtel began operating in Ghana after acquiring Zain's Africa operations in June 2010.[41] On 4 March 2017, Airtel and Millicom International Cellular agreed to merge their operations in Ghana (Airtel Ghana Ltd and Tigo Ghana Ltd) to create the country's second largest mobile operator, with the two companies holding an equal stake in the merged entity.[3][42] On 27 October 2020, Airtel announced that it planned to exit its business in Ghana, and that it had entered into "advanced stages of discussions" for sale of shares in AirtelTigo to the Government of Ghana.[43] AirtelTigo Ghana was sold in October 2020 to the Ghanaian government for $25 million.[44]

One Network[edit]

Map showing Airtel coverage globally

One Network is a mobile phone network that allows Airtel customers to use the service in a number of countries at the same price as their home network. Customers can place outgoing calls at the same rate as their local network, and incoming calls are free.[45] As of 2021, the service is available in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.[46][44]

Partial sale of Airtel Money[edit]

In March 2021, Airtel Africa sold an undisclosed minority fraction of its Airtel Money business, to San Francisco-based private equity firm TPG Capital, at a contract price of US$200 million. TPG is investing in the Airtel Money business of Airtel Africa, through its subsidiary, The Arise Fund.[47] Shortly after, in early April 2021, Airtel Africa sold an additional undisclosed minority stake of Airtel Money to Mastercard for US$100 million.[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AIRTEL AFRICA PLC AAF Our story - Stock | London Stock Exchange". www.londonstockexchange.com. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Annual Report 2022" (PDF). Airtel Africa. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Airtel, Millicom ink pact to merge in Ghana - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  4. ^ "BHP Group Plc (UK) & BHP Group Ltd (Australia): Unification of Share Structure - Update: Changes in FTSE UK Index Series". 26 January 2022. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Emerging-market telecoms: Eyes on Africa", The Economist, 6 May 2008
  6. ^ "$50 Billion Telecom Deal Falls Apart", The New York Times, 25 May 2008
  7. ^ "Bharti renews talks with MTN". Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Topupguru.com". Topupguru.com. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
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  10. ^ "Bharti Airtel and MTN talks collapse again due to dual-listing disagreement | City A.M". City A.M. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
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  12. ^ "Airtel dons a new look, plans to be closer to consumers across the globe > afaqs! news & features". Afaqs.com. 19 November 2010. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
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  15. ^ "USD10m plan for Airtel Seychelles; Bharti announces commitment to SEAS cable". Telegeography.com. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
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  20. ^ Kurup, Rajesh. "Bharti Airtel to acquire Millicom's operations in Rwanda". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
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  28. ^ "Airtel Kenya grows subscriber base to four million; 3G network to launch in March". Telegeography.com. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  29. ^ Bello, Muhammed. "Industry Statistics". ncc.gov.ng. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  30. ^ "Airtel launches mobile services in Rwanda". The Times Of India. 30 March 2012.
  31. ^ "About us | Airtel (Seychelles) – Mobile Phones, Mobile Internet, Broadband, Email, Blackberry & Roaming". Airtel.sc. 24 October 1997. Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  32. ^ "Tanzania is betting big on 4G by taking back a Bharti-Airtel stake in the state telco". Quartz. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  33. ^ "Investor Relations FAQs". Airtel Zambia. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  34. ^ "Bharti Airtel bidding US$10.7B for Zain's Africa mobile ops". Reuters. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
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  38. ^ Lead, Telecom (19 July 2016). "Orange completes Airtel deal in Sierra Leone | TelecomLead". TelecomLead. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
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  40. ^ "Orange announces 100% takeover of Airtel in Sierra Leone". Africanews. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
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  42. ^ "Airtel, Millicom sign pact to combine Ghana operations". Mint. 3 March 2017.
  43. ^ "Ghana government in talks to takeover AirtelTigo shares". Reuters. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  44. ^ a b Mingas, Mingas (29 October 2020). "Ghanaian government buys AirtelTigo for $25 million". Capacity Media. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  45. ^ Bafna, Sanjay (15 November 2012). "AIRTEL Customers in AFRICA to Get FREE Incoming Calls While International Roaming in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh". Telecomtalk.info. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  46. ^ "One Network Services". Airtel. 2014. Archived from the original on 21 July 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  47. ^ Victor Juma (19 March 2021). "Airtel sells mobile money service stake to PE firm for Sh21 billion". Business Daily Africa. Nairobi. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  48. ^ Tage Kene-Okafor (1 April 2021). "Airtel Africa receives $100M for its mobile money business from Mastercard". Techcrunch. Retrieved 12 April 2021.