Bharti Airtel the largest telecom operator in India and third largest globally by subscriber base and operations in over 20 countries is contemplating on selling its assets and operations in India's neighbouring countries Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
In a clarification to the BSE, Airtel said it keeps evaluating various opportunities on an ongoing basis in ordinary course of business and will make necessary disclosure as and when required.
Sources familiar with the matter say that Airtel is strategically pulling out of unproductive markets in an attempt to restructure its resources and focus on building a more robust operation in profitable markets. Airtel’s revenue from operations in South Asia, which includes Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, stood at Rs 3.8 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2015, a decrease of 11.1 per cent as compared to Rs 4.3 billion in the corresponding quarter last year, primarily due to lower minutes of usage.
Airtel had last month hinted about its intentions of selling off its four loss making African subsidiaries in Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and Sierra Leone and was in talks with Orange for the same. This time it seems to be in talks with Etisalat for the sale of operations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and has appointed two lead bankers for the sale process. Bharti Airtel has about 2,500 telecom towers of Sri Lanka and 4,000 in Bangladesh.