4 Jun 2014
Having struck a deal to acquire rival Warid Congo last year, fellow mobile network operator Airtel Congo is said to have completed the deal, Agence D’Information d’Afrique Centrale reports. With the finalisation of the deal said to have been confirmed over the weekend at a ceremony in the capital Brazzaville, the merger of the two cellcos will see the enlarged entity become the largest player in the wireless sector in terms of subscribers; Airtel has said it expects to have around 2.6 million subscribers on its books post-merger. With it also revealed that the combined operators will offer services under the Airtel banner moving forward, Warid customers have been advised that they will not need to take any action to retain their service, while existing stocks of pre-paid Warid cards will continue to be sold until exhausted. John Ndego, director general of Airtel Congo was cited as saying that the tie-up will allow for greater synergies and increased capacity on the network, for the benefit of both customers and local communities.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in November 2013 India’s Bharti Airtel revealed it had entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Warid Telecom’s subsidiary in the Republic of Congo; the deal itself, said to be worth approximately USD80 million, was actually struck two months earlier. Warid International, which is wholly owned by UAE-based Abu Dhabi Group, had reportedly been looking to divest its Congo operations for some time, with previous efforts to sell the unit to India’s Essar Group falling through in June 2011, with the deal called after Essar had difficulty in getting regulatory clearance.