Tanzanian govt keen to cling on to Airtel stake

22 Dec 2011

The government of Tanzania has said that it has no plans to sell its 40% stake in Airtel Tanzania – the local operating subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel group – citing the success of the cellco’s mobile money service as the reason for the decision. The East African Business Week quotes the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mustafa Mkulo, as saying that it will not unload the shares because of the inherent profitability of the service. ‘We have decided to continue with you until further notice because there is no risk of losing our tax payers money … We want to still maintaining our dividend,’ he said. Bharti Airtel holds the remaining 60% stake in Airtel Tanzania, having bought the asset from Zain last year. However, the Tanzanian part of the transaction was delayed after the government disputed the move citing a previous agreement with Zain which would see it acquiring full control of the mobile operator. Although the Indian firm offered the government USD11 million last year to buy out the state’s 40%, the Dar es Salaam government is holding firm.

Tanzania, Airtel Tanzania