MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND FINANCIAL RESULTS

Bharti Airtel Announces N90 Billion Investment in Nigeria

Bharti Airtel, which recently acquired the African operations of Zain, on Tuesday in Lagos, announced its plans for the Nigerian market, where it will invest a whopping N90 billion ($600 million) in the next three years.

The company announced its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), as Rajan Swaroop, and its Chairman as Oba Otudeko for the Nigerian operation. Otudeko's reappointment marks his return as Chairman, having being Chairman of the old Zain Nigeria.

Otudeko, in his address, thanked Zain customers for their loyalty to and affinity for the company over the years, promising that with the presence of Bharti Airtel as the new owners of Zain, the best is yet to come to Nigeria.

African Group CEO of Bharti Airtel, Manoj Kholi, who unveiled Bharti's plan and strategies for the Nigerian market, said: "Bharti has come to Nigeria not only to become an open telecom operator, but a rural network operator that will take its services and products to the rural community in order to give opportunity for rural dwellers to communicate effectively."

He listed quality of service, affordability of service, employment opportunity, quality corporate social responsibility initiatives, as some of the things the company would bring to Nigeria, with plans to become the mobile market leader in Nigeria.

Giving details of the N90 billion investment in the first three years of its operation in Nigeria, Kholi said the 50 per cent (N45 billion) would be spent in the first ysear of its operation in the country.

He listed entrepreneurial spirit and staff enthusiasm as the two major factors driving the growth of the Indian company, and promised that Bharti would extend such to the Nigerian market, where its staff would be well managed.

Pleased with the task of managing Bharti Airtel Nigeria, Swaroop reaffirmed the commitment of Bharti to go the extra mile in meeting and exceeding the expectations of customers. According to him, "In Nigeria, we will continue to build on the momentum and we are committed to taking the telecommunications industry to new heights. Going forward, it will be our endeavour to raise the bar and bring the best in class service, seamless network experience and introduce innovative products and services for our customers in Nigeria."

Bharti Airtel also said it plans to bring its ecosystem of global partners to Nigeria, which would result in additional employment opportunities in Nigeria, and that the company also plans to set up schools and offer free quality education to underprivileged children in rural areas, as part of its corporate social responsibilities.

With the successful completion of Zain's acquisition, Bharti Airtel is now the fifth largest mobile company in the world with over 185 million subscribers across its business units.

African countries, which Bharti acquired their operations include Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Source: Daily Independent

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