The Government of Ghana is currently in talks to acquire 100% shares of AirtelTigo, along with all its customers, assets and agreed liabilities.
The takeover of AirtelTigo by the government comes after the board of Bharti Airtel announced that it has cleared the sale of its joint venture in Ghana (AirtelTigo) to the Government of Ghana.
“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,” Bharti Airtel said in the statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
“Accordingly, Airtel is voluntarily taking an impairment charge of Rs 1,841 million (Rs 184 crore),” the statement added.
Explaining why the Government of Ghana is acquiring AirtelTigo, the Ministry of Communications in a statement indicated that the decision is aimed at protecting and safeguarding the interest of employees, customers and stakeholders of AirtelTigo.
“The Government of Ghana through this transaction, will temporarily operate this national asset in the best interest of the nation, and ensure the protection of the interests of all employees, customers and stakeholders, and a continuation of the digital transformation in Ghana,” the statement read.
“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 safeguarded.
“It is of critical importance that the telecommunications sector remains healthy, dynamic, vibrant, and most importantly, competitive,” the statement added.
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.
AirtelTigo serves around 5.1 million subscribers and offers direct and indirect employment opportunities to almost 10,000 people.
Celtel International acquired 75% of Western Telesystems Ltd (Westel) from the Government of Ghana for $120 million in 2007. Celtel was subsequently acquired by the Zain Group which also sold all its African Assets to Bharti Airtel in 2010.
The Government of Ghana remained a shareholder in Airtel Ghana with a 25% holding through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, until the AirtelTigo merger, and retained an option to acquire additional shares after the merger.
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.
Millicom Ghana Limited was the first mobile telecommunications company to operate in the country under the brand name Mobitel before rebranding to become Tigo.
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