Airtel Connects with Africa - to become the first Indian brand to go truly global

New Delhi, June 8, 2010
  • Completes the largest ever cross- border deal in emerging markets.
  • Enters the league of five largest mobile operators in the world.
  • Becomes a leading Indian MNC with operations in 18 countries with a footprint covering 1.8 billion people.
  • Reiterates commitment to Africa and promises affordable services, deeper coverage and superior brand experience.

Bharti Airtel Limited ("Bharti") today took a giant step towards becoming a global emerging market telecom operator by completing the acquisition of Zain Group's ("Zain") mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for an enterprise valuation of USD10.7 billion. With this acquisition, Airtel will become the first Indian brand to go truly global with a footprint that covers over 1.8 billion people. Bharti also becomes a major Indian MNC with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa with a customer base of over 180 million.

The transaction is the largest ever cross-border deal in emerging markets and will result in combined revenues of over USD 12.4 billion and EBITDA of over USD 4.7 billion, based on the last audited results. Bharti is now among the five largest mobile operators in the world.

Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti said, "We are delighted at the closure of this transformational deal for India and Bharti. We would like to express our deep gratitude and thank the governments of all the fifteen countries as well as the government of India for their overwhelming support to this landmark event. This will further strengthen the historic Indo-Africa economic & social ties and provide a big boost to South-South cooperation.

Bharti, which has been working towards its vision of expansion into Africa, is committed to contributing to the growth of telecom in the region by taking networks deep into these countries and providing affordable services that touch the common man. We also promise our customers in Africa a superior brand experience and a portfolio of innovative products & services.

We would like to welcome over 6500 talented and highly qualified professionals to the Bharti family and look forward to working with them to take these operations from strength to strength. We would like to thank the Zain team for their professionalism, which enabled us to close this transaction in a record time."

Mr. Asaad Al-Banwan, Chairman, Zain, said "We wholeheartedly wish Bharti Airtel great success in continuing the development of telecommunications across the African continent, and we are confident that the people of Africa will welcome such a committed and reputable telecom powerhouse."

Bharti's acquisition of Zain's African mobile services operations covers 15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million. The total population base covered is over 450 million with telecom penetration of approximately 32%. The countries in which Bharti has acquired the operations are - Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zain is the market leader in 10 of the 15 countries and second in 4 countries.

Bharti was advised on the transaction by Standard Chartered Bank as the Lead Advisor, Barclays Capital as the Joint Lead Advisor and SBI Group as the Lead Onshore Advisor. Global Investment House, Kuwait was the Regional Advisor.

Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays, SBI Group, ANZ, BNP, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Agricole CIB, DBS, HSBC, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation are Bharti's financiers for the deal.

Herbert Smith LLP was International Legal Advisor to Bharti, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP was the Financing Arrangement Legal Advisor and AZB & Partners was the Indian Legal Advisor. Ernst & Young was the Accounting advisor.

About Bharti Airtel Limited

Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company of Bharti Enterprises, is a leading emerging markets telco with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. The company has over 180 million customers across its operations.

Bharti Airtel has been ranked among the six best performing technology companies in the world by Business Week. Bharti Airtel is structured as four strategic business units - Mobile, Telemedia, Enterprise and Digital TV. The mobile business offers services in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. The Telemedia business provides broadband, IPTV and telephone services in 89 Indian cities. The Enterprise business provides end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national and international long distance services to carriers. The Digital TV business provides DTH services across India. All these services are provided under the Airtel brand (excluding Bangladesh and Africa). Airtel's international network infrastructure includes ownership of the i2i submarine cable system and consortium ownership in five global undersea cable systems, SEA-ME-WE 4, EIG, I-ME-WE, AAG and UNITY. For more information, visit www.airtel.in.

For further information:

Senjam Raj Sekhar
raj.senjam@bharti.in

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