Bharti considers bid for Millicom’s Sri Lanka assets

Bharti considers bid for Millicom’s Sri Lanka assets

New Delhi: Just days after an aborted deal for merger with South Africa’s MTN, Bharti Airtel today said it may bid to acquire Luxembourg-based telecom firm Millicom’s operations in Sri Lanka.

“We are considering it... that much I can say," Bharti Airtel Chief Executive Manoj Kohli told reporters on the sidelines of an AIMA event here.

Bharti, which itself has mobile services running in Sri Lanka, is understood to be keen about acquiring 100% stake of Millicom’s operations in the island nation, but it was not known when it would start due diligence.

Besides Sri Lanka, Millicom has put its assets in Laos and Cambodia for sale.

Nasdaq-listed Millicom provides prepaid cellular telephony services to over 30 million customers in 16 emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Asked if Bharti Airtel was also interested in Kuwait’s Zain Telecom, Kohli said, “We continue to explore international acquisitions."

A consortium comprising Indian telecom PSUs BSNL and MTNL are in acquisition talks with Zain.

Bharti group CEO Sunil Mittal has said that the company won’t engage in dialogue with MTN for a third time, after inconclusive talks twice.

“No further talks with MTN and the current round is over," Bharti had said.