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Bharti Airtel mulls consolidation in weakest African markets

Bharti Airtel mulls consolidation in weakest African markets

Bharti Airtel is looking to reduce its African footprint through consolidation or stake reductions in six non-profitable markets.

Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal confirmed back in January that the India-based group was considering divesting or merging some of its African units in order to bring down its overall company debt. Airtel has reportedly named Chad, Kenya, Niger, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania as markets where it could benefit from reducing its exposure.

However, despite acknowledging that it has a “weak footing” in these markets, Airtel has stated that it will not withdraw from any of the fifteen African markets in which it operates. It is present across several more African countries, with analyst observations indicating that the operator is strongest in Ghana, Nigeria, the Seychelles, Uganda and Zambia.

This performance review follows swiftly from Airtel’s quarterly reports, which showed its African operations recording subsequent quarterly losses. Airtel Africa’s annual loss for the three months leading up to the end of December 2016 was $93 million, a marked year-on-year increase from $74 million in the same period last year.