Orange to buy two of Airtel's African operations

Bharti Airtel today said it will sell its operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone to French multinational telecommunications corporation Orange, formerly  France TÚlÚcom SA.

Airtel had in July last year made an announcement about entering into an agreement with Orange to sell its four subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone, in Africa. The agreements for the remaining two countries have lapsed.

''Orange and Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV have signed an agreement leading to Orange's acquisition of Airtel's operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone," the company said in a statement.

As per the agreement, Orange will acquire 100 per cent of the two companies' share capital. The consolidated revenue of the two companies is around €275 million. These acquisitions will be implemented in partnership with Orange's subsidiaries in the Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal.

Airtel said outlay for Orange for these transactions will be based on the financials of its two subsidiaries for the year ended 31 March 2016 and will represent the equivalent of 7.9 times Airtel's EBITDA in these two countries at this time. The completion of these transactions remains subject to approval by the competent authorities.

Through this deal, Orange will reinforce its presence in Africa with two additional countries, adding almost 5.5 million customers to its mobile customer base. This acquisition marks a step forward in Orange's growth strategy and will bring the Group's African footprint up to 20 countries in 2016.

This is further to the initial agreement signed between Airtel and Orange in July 2015 regarding the potential acquisition of Airtel's operations in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Chad and Congo Brazzaville, Airtel said.

Lazard and Societe Generale were advisors to Orange for this transaction. Airtel was advised by Arma Partners LLP.