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India’s Airtel eyes Warid Congo SA acquisition

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Indian telecoms giant Bharti Airtel (Airtel) has announced plans to acquire the operations of Congo Brazzaville mobile operator Warid Congo SA.

According to a press statement, the deal could mark the second in-country acquisition by Airtel.

The Indian telecoms firm acquired Warid’s Uganda operations earlier this year.

And Bharti also already has operations in Congo Brazzaville. Currently, Airtel is Congo’s second largest operator with 1.6 million users in the country, while Warid is the third largest with around 1 million customers.

The press statement further reveals that with the planned acquisition, Airtel aims to increase its subscriber numbers to 2.6 million in Congo.

Warid Congo SA, meanwhile, is owned by Abu Dhabi based Warid group, a mobile telecoms investment firm whose portfolio companies provide telephony services in Congo, Pakistan and Uganda.

Airtel has a presence across 17 African countries with over 66 million customers at the end September, 2013.

The value of the planned acquisition, though, has not been revealed.

“This acquisition is in line with our stated strategy of strengthening our market position through in-country acquisitions, as and when suitable opportunities comes along," said Manoj Kohli, managing director and chief executive officer (international) of Bharti Airtel.

"We are at an advance 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 and roaming tariffs, innovative products, Airtel Money, world-class networks and customer care," said Kohli.

Warid board member in the Congo Brazzaville, 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."

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