Mumbai / New Delhi: India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd and Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. KSC, also known as Zain, are likely to sign agreements for the Indian firm’s $9 billion (Rs40,590 crore) buy of Zain’s African assets on Tuesday, two people familiar with the development said.

New horizons: A file photo of Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal Rajkumar / Mint

A Bharti Airtel spokesman declined comment.

Earlier, two Kuwaiti newspapers reported the deal was likely to be signed on Tuesday.

Bharti and Zain said in separate statements last week the due diligence for the assets had been completed and the companies were working towards finalizing the definitive agreements.

Bharti had said it expected the agreements to be signed soon. Zain’s chairman was quoted on Saturday as saying the deal would be signed in the next few days, though the closing could take weeks or months.

Both Bharti and Zain have said they would seek any required approvals after the signing of the deal.

Bharti, controlled by Indian billionaire Sunil Mittal, who started his career selling bicycle parts, is desperate to expand in new markets as cut-rate competition at home squeezes profit margins.

Zain’s assets will give the Indian mobile market leader a footprint in 15 African countries.

Bharti Airtel shares closed 0.2% higher on Monday, underperforming the broader market that gained 0.4%. Zain shares ended 1.5% up at 1.4 Kuwaiti dinars.

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Eman Goma in Kuwait contributed to this story.

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