Airtel closes sale of its unit in Sierra Leone to France's Orange

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel Tuesday said it has completed the sale of its subsidiary in Sierra Leone to France's Orange, after having completed the sale of its unit in Burkina Faso to the same company in June.

In January, Bharti Airtel had said it will sell its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to France-based Orange to Orange SA for around $900 million (Rs 6,030 crore),

"We wish to inform that Orange has completed the acquisition of 100% of the operations of Airtel in Sierra Leone via its subsidiaries, having already closed the transaction for Burkina Faso , " India's No. 1 telco said in a filing to the National Stock Exchange".

"Proceeds from both the transactions have been applied to pay down bank debt," Airtel added.

Airtel had been looking to sell its operations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone, all Francophone countries, or non-English speaking markets in Africa, a continent where the company has been making losses since its entry in 2010, which has been dragging the carrier's consolidated financials.

While the telco, in July last year, entered into a pact with Orange to sell its four subsidiaries in the four countries to Orange, it closed the deals in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone. Agreements for the remaining two countries lapsed.
Source: Telecom Econimic Times 20 June 2016