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Bharti Airtel to merge Sri Lanka operations with Dialog Axiata

Bharati Airtel notified the exchange that Dialog Axiata will acquire Airtel Lanka, and the company will retain 10.355% of the shares in the merged entity through a share swap

Bharti Airtel to merge Sri Lanka operations with Dialog Axiata
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Bharti Airtel Ltd has announced plans to merge its Sri Lankan operations with Dialog Axiata, the leading telecom firm in that country, in a share-swap deal.

Under the deal, Dialog Axiata will acquire Airtel Lanka, with Bharti Airtel retaining a 10.355% stake in the merged entity through a share swap.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, clearance from the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), and other compliance procedures.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has approved the proposed merger, underscoring its vision to advance the adoption of telecommunications services across Sri Lanka.

Axiata, a telecommunications and digital conglomerate, has controlling stakes in mobile and fixed operators in the region, including ‘XL’ and ‘Link Net’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia, and ‘CelcomDigi’ in Malaysia.

Dialog Axiata Group is Sri Lanka’s most prominent foreign direct investor (FDI), with investments totaling $3.25 Billion. Axiata Group Berhad, the group’s subsidiary, operates Sri Lanka’s leading Quad-Play connectivity provider.

Listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Dialog Axiata PLC is a market leader in mobile, digital pay television, fixed telecommunications, and international services sectors. 

Having rapid adoption rates among the Sri Lankan youth, Airtel Sri Lanka commenced its commercial operations in Sri Lanka in 2009 and was the fastest operator to reach 1 million customers.

This consolidation between Axiata Group Berhad and Bharti Airtel will enable the merged entity to garner economies of scale and reduce duplication of infrastructure, achieve synergies in technology and capital expenditure leading to enhanced high-speed broadband connectivity, voice and value-added services, cost savings, and operational efficiencies.

Gopal Vittal, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bharti Airtel Ltd, said, “We are happy to merge our Sri Lanka operations with Dialog. Given their scale and unique propositions, we are certain that our customers will continue to enjoy cutting-edge services on a seamless network.”

“It is a privilege to welcome the team at Airtel Lanka to the Dialog family and together we take a significant step forward in our commitment to delivering superior telecommunications services in Sri Lanka,” said Supun Weerasinghe, director or group chief executive officer at Dialog Axiata PLC.

“The integration of Dialog and Airtel Lanka operations will unlock new opportunities for innovation and growth, and this will benefit consumers,” Ashish Chandra, chief executive officer, Airtel Sri Lanka. 

Vivek Sood, Group CEO and managing director of Axiata Group Berhad, said, “The merger between Dialog and Airtel Lanka is aligned to Axiata’s market consolidation and resilience strategy. The merger will create value for Dialog Axiata PLC and Axiata Group shareholders through achievable synergies. We respect Airtel Lanka and its employees and look forward to working together as we integrate the two companies”. 

Commenting, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, CEO of telecommunications business and group executive director of Axiata, added, “This merger brings together the strengths of two leading telco groups and bodes well for the Growth and Sustainability of Sri Lanka’s flagship Telecom Sector. We look forward to the new frontiers in Customer Experience and innovation the company will deliver to Sri Lankan Consumers and Enterprises.”

Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 500 million customers across 17 South Asian and African countries. The company ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally, and its networks cover over two billion people.

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