Airtel Zambia, the recently acquired unit of India’s Bharti Airtel, is planning to invest up to USD150 million on the development of new infrastructure with a view to bolstering its customers, according to Bloomberg, which cites the former’s managing director, Fayaz King.
As previously reported, Bharti has faced opposition to some of its plans since acquiring the Zambian operator as part of its wider-ranging purchase of the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain last year. In December 2010 Bharti Airtel announced that it would increase its stake in Airtel Zambia from 79% to 97% following the conclusion of a mandatory offer to buy out minority shareholders, launched the previous month. Subsequently, however, plans to delist the unit from the local bourse looked to have been set off course following objections to the proposals, with around 2,000 shareholders, which hold around 3% of Airtel Zambia’s stock, rejecting an offer of ZMK710 (USD0.15) per share. Mumba Kapumpa, one of the key architects of Zambia’s local capital market and the first chief executive officer and secretary of the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), also pledged his opposition to the delisting proposals, claiming that: ‘The intention of the government then and indeed now is to develop, deepen and broaden the capital market as an alternative place for investments in Zambia, but this development will certainly work against that.’