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29 November 2023

Bharti aims to conclude Zain deal by late April

The value of the proposed deal between Bharti and Zain. (AFP)


Bharti Airtel is aiming to conclude its planned purchase of African assets of Zain telecom by late April, it was reported yesterday, as the Indian company's chief defended the deal.

Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile phone firm, and Kuwait's Zain said last Monday they will hold talks until March 25 to work out details of the proposed $10.7 billion (Dh39.2bn) deal giving the Indian firm access to markets in 15 African nations.

"Everything is on a pretty fast track," Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Airtel, told CNBC TV18 network, calling the proposed takeover "a great opportunity" for the Indian company.

"If we can complete our positioning on the deal on [March] 25... then you should just await country approvals," Mittal said. "My guess is by the end of April, we should be looking good (for closure of the deal)."

"This deal has no complications," he said.

Analysts have expressed worries that debt for funding the purchase could put pressure on Bharti's balance sheet and that it was overpaying for poorly performing assets. Late Friday, global ratings agency Standard & Poor's placed Bharti on "creditwatch with negative implications".


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