India's largest telecoms firm Bharti Airtel has taken a strategic plans to sell its Sri Lanka and Bangladesh operations. Airtel appointed two bankers to conduct the sale and other formalities. The move is part of the company's plan to consolidate its operations, reduce debt and get out of unproductive, low-margin business.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. Sources have told CNBC-TV18 that Etisalat and Orange are amongst interested players.
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Airtel will separately to look sell its towers business in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (2,500 and 4,000, respectively). Bharti had in 2012 tried to sell the two assets but the move was not successful. When contacted, the company said it would not comment on market speculation. Etisalat and Orange were unavailable for comments.