Discussions for the transfer of AirtelTigo shares along with all customers, assets and agreed liabilities to the Government of Ghana (GoG) are reported to be in its advanced stages.
After the completion of the transaction, Government has said it will temporarily operate the national asset in the best interest of the nation as well as ensure the protection of the interests of all employees, customers and stakeholders.
“Given the multiplier impact the telecommunications sector has on the economy and various related industries, the Government of Ghana has entered into this agreement to ensure that thousands of Ghanaian jobs are safe guarded. It is of critical importance that the telecommunications sector remains healthy, dynamic, vibrant, and most importantly, competitive,” read part of the statement issued on the transaction.
Board of Bharti Airtel in a statement issued to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 announced the sale of its Ghana joint venture – AirtelTigo – to the Ghanaian Government.
“The parties are in advance stages of discussions for conclusion of the commercial agreement for the transfer of AirtelTigo on a going concern basis to the government of Ghana,” said Bharti Airtel to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The sale of AirtelTigo to Government is estimated to cost approximately $25 million (Ghs 145.9 million).
AirtelTigo is a joint venture between ‘Airtel’ and ‘Millicom’ wherein Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95 per cent share in AirtelTigo.
Bharti Airtel in 2017 merged with Millicom’s Tigo in Ghana to become the country’s second largest mobile operator, AirtelTigo, with the approval of the National Communications Authority (NCA).
AirtelTigo serves around 5.1 million Ghanaian subscribers and offers direct and indirect employment opportunities to almost 10,000 people.
Celtel International acquired 75 per cent of Western Telesystems Ltd (Westel) from the Government of Ghana for $120 million in 2007.
Westel was at the time of the take over by Celtel, the second national operator in Ghana and was licensed to provide fixed and mobile (GSM) telecommunications services.
Celtel was subsequently acquired by the Zain Group which also sold all its African Assets to Bharti Airtel in 2010.
Government however, remained a shareholder in Airtel Ghana with a 25 percent holding through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, until the AirtelTigo merger, and retained an option to acquire additional shares after the merger.