Bharti Airtel is set to investigate cutting its exposure across six non-profitable African markets through stake reductions or mergers, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
Citing sources close to the company, the business publication said the India-based Group identified Rwanda, Niger, Chad, Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania as countries where it could potentially benefit from consolidation.
In January, the company’s chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal told Bloomberg Airtel was considering the merger or sale of some of its African interests to reduce company debt.
A statement seen by the ET yesterday confirmed the operator was reviewing its options on the continent, focused on markets where it was on a “weak footing”. It added it was not planning to exit any of its 15 African markets.
In addition to the six locations identified, the company operates across a range of countries in Africa. Analysts estimate Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and the Seychelles are its strongest in the region.
The proposed review of its presence in the region comes after its African unit reported a series of quarterly losses.
In the company’s latest financial statement, covering the three months to the end of December 2016, its African loss stood at $93 million, up from $74 million in the same period the previous year.
Its next quarterly results statement, summarising its performance in the first three months of 2017, is scheduled for May 9.