Airtel given extension on local ownership requirement

9 Feb 2012

Airtel Kenya has received a second reprieve from meeting local foreign ownership regulations, reports Business Daily Africa. The cellco’s parent, India’s Bharti Airtel, currently owns 95% of the company, transgressing local legislation capping foreign ownership at 80%. In 2009 Zain, the previous owners of the cellco, were given a three-year grace period to increase local ownership in the company to 20% after Kenyan businessman Naushad Merali reduced his stake from 20% to 5%. Upon taking over the company in June 2010, Bharti inherited the obligation, effectively granting it until 2012 to dilute its stake. However, Bharti has been given an extension to the grace-period, reportedly on the basis that the Kenyan provider is still running at a loss. The duration of the reprieve was not made public, but it is believed that Bharti will have until 2015 to meet regulations.

Kenya, Airtel Kenya