Airtel, a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today said that it has entered into a definitive agreement with the Warid Group to fully acquire Warid Congo SA. The agreement is subject to regulatory and statutory approvals.
The agreement marks the second in-country acquisition by Airtel in Africa. It had acquired Warid’s Uganda operations earlier this year. The latest acquisition will make Airtel the largest mobile operator in Congo Brazzaville with around 2.6 million customers. At present, Airtel is the second largest operator in the country with over 1.6 million customers, while Warid is the third largest with around one million customers.
The agreement aims to bring together the strengths of Airtel and Warid in Congo Brazzaville and benefit customers in the form of affordable tariffs, superior 2G/ 3G network, affordable voice and data services and superior customer care. In addition, existing Warid customers in Congo Brazzaville will join Airtel’s global network of over 280 million customers and enjoy the benefits of ‘One Airtel’ network with affordable roaming rates across Africa and South Asia, besides other exciting bouquet of innovative 2G and 3G services.
Airtel Uganda, Managing Director, V.G Somasekhar talking about the acquisition said; “The acquisition of Warid in Uganda was ground-breaking and Airtel continues to deliver landmark business solutions in the telecommunications industry. The merger in here was ultimately a move to reinvest in the business which is a good sign, allowing for further development in infrastructure. Our experience has seen customers benefit from marked improvements in services levels, product innovation, quality and affordable prices. The Congo market can look forward to the same improvements as they consolidate the two businesses.”
Speaking on the agreement, Mr. Manoj Kohli, MD and CEO (International), Bharti Airtel said, “This acquisition is in line with our stated strategy of strengthening our market position through in-country acquisitions, as and when suitable opportunities come along. We are at an advanced stage of successfully integrating Warid’s Uganda operations with that of Airtel and look forward to a similarly swift transition in Congo Brazzaville as well. As already demonstrated in Uganda, the merger will bring more value for the customers in the form of affordable data & roaming tariffs, innovative products, Airtel Money, world-class networks and customer care. We would like to express our deep gratitude to the Government and look forward to its support to this deal. ”
Warid Congo, Brazzaville, Board Member, Sriram Yarlagadda, said, “This agreement creates a win–win situation for the customers and provide them with an opportunity to be part of one of the largest mobile services providers in the world. The customers can look forward to enjoy affordable voice tariffs and 3G data services on the most extensive network. On this occasion, we would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the Government for its support and look forward to its continued cooperation towards a successful transaction”
With presence across 17 African countries, Airtel is the largest telecom service provider across the Continent in terms of geographical reach and had over 66 million customers at the end of quarter ended September 30, 2013. Globally, Airtel is ranked as the 4th largest mobile operators in terms of subscribers.