Bharti Airtel Close to Selling Sri Lanakan Network to Etisalat
Published on: 17th Dec 2013
By: Ian Mansfield
India's Bharti Airtel is reportedly inching closer to the long expected sale of its Sri Lankan subsidiary to Etisalat.
The Hindu newspaper reported that following months of talks, the two sides have agreed the main aspects of the deal.
Etisalat already owns a mobile network in the country, and has around 5 million customers, compared to the 2 million signed up to Airtel.
Airtel has invested an estimated USD300 million in Sri Lanka but has not yet managed to turn a profit. The company has repeatedly blamed a poor regulatory regime for making it harder for smaller networks to compete.
Earlier this year, Malaysia's Axiata was said to be eying a possible purchase of Airtel Sri Lanka, but evidently pulled out of the talks.
There are currently five mobile networks operating in the smallish country which has been seen as ripe for mergers between the smaller players for some time.