Bharti Airtel’s acquisition of Millicom’s Tigo Rwanda unit has been approved by Rwanda’s Utilities Regulatory Authority.
Airtel announced its planned acquisition in December 2017, in part as an affirmation its commitment to its African operations. Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said at the time that the deal would allow Airtel “to become a profitable and strong challenger” in Rwanda. The group is aiming to see all of its African units deliver positive margins and cashflow this year.
The deal will see Airtel Rwanda combine with Tigo Rwanda, to form a new entity that will lead the market (respectively, the two operators currently hold 13% and 34% of the market). This will also reduce the number of operators in the market. The new entity will face competition from MTN (40% market share) and KT Rwanda Networks (8%).
The new Rwandan unit of Airtel will provide voice, data, global roaming and mobile banking services. It will have the largest sales and distribution network in the market as well as the largest share, although it will be second in terms of revenue.
Bharti Airtel saw the revenue for its African operations increase 5.1% year-on-year for the fiscal Q3, reaching $738 million. Subscriber growth increased by 4.7% to 84.1 million.