19 November 2016 Current Affairs: Bharti Airtel has merged its unit in Bangladesh with Robi Axiata Ltd., a unit of Axiata Group Berhad, a move which will form a strong No. 2 mobile phone operator in what is a fiercely competitive market led by Telenor unit Grameenphone.
Post the merger, Axiata and Airtel will hold 68.7% and 25% stake, respectively, in the combined entity which will have around 32.2 million customers and operate under the Robi Axiata brand. The remaining 6.3% stake will be held by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo .
The merger is a part of Airtel's initiative to restructure operations in all markets where it trails one or more market leaders. The Indian market leader had entered Bangladesh by acquiring 70 per cent stake in Warid Telecom in 2010, which it raised to 100% in 2013.
Prior to the merger, Airtel was the fourth largest in Bangladesh among six operators, while Robi Axiata was ranked No. 2.
The Sunil Mittal-led telco said the merger was completed following the fulfilment of the condition precedents to the agreement and filing of the merger order with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms of Bangladesh Court
Bharti Airtel's shares rose 2.2% to Rs.Earlier in January, Bharti Airtel's Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal had said that there was a compelling rationale for bringing together the strengths of both entities. He had then said that the combined entity will be well positioned to leverage the operational synergies to serve customers better.
Moody's Investors Service said that the merger of Bharti Airtel and Axiata Group's telecom units in Bangladesh will be "credit positive" for both parent companies.
It added that the Robi-Airtel merged entity will be the largest spectrum holder in both 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands with 12 units and 17 units of such airwaves respectively.
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