Airtel increases stake in Nigerian unit to 83.25%

Bharti Airtel has increased its stake in its Nigerian operation by buying Zimbabwe company Econet Wireless’s shares for an undisclosed sum.

Bharti Airtel now owns 83.25% after acquiring Econet’s 45.2% stake, a shareholding which long caused dispute between the two companies.

The two companies have already settled all claims and disputes, which date back to before Airtel bought Zain’s African operations in 2010 for $10.7 billion. Econet – which owns Liquid Telecom in south and east Africa – claimed that it had the first call on the operation thanks to an agreement dating back to before Zain’s ownership.

Bharti Airtel has just reported flat growth for its African operations, which account for 22% of the whole group’s revenue and 13% of EBITDA. The company reported $1.7 billion in sales in the six months to the end of September, up just 3% on the same period of 2015. EBITDA was 22.5% of revenue, compared with 18.9% in the same period of 2015.