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Why Bharti Airtel exited Ghana mobile market

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The Bharti Airtel board announced that they have cleared the sale of its Ghana joint venture in mobile operator AirtelTigo to the government, as the parties are at an advanced stage of discussions for the conclusion of the deal.

A statement from Bharti Airtel said, “The parties are in advance stages of discussions for the conclusion of the commercial agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo on a going concern basis to the Government of Ghana.”

The proposed deal would result in the government acquiring 100% of shares of Airtel Ghana, along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

There was no disclosure of financial details, but Bharti Airtel said it is taking an impairment charge of  USD24.9 million on its holding in the operator.

AirtelTigo is a 50/50-owned joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular (MIC). The pair’s Ghanaian units Airtel Ghana and Tigo Ghana were combined in October 2017 to create the country’s second largest mobile carrier.

However, the joint venture has since fallen behind MTN and Vodacom in the country. Airtel has previously said that it will look at consolidation opportunities, including exiting in markets where it is not among the top two players.

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