Bharti Airtel, Dialog Axiata Merger: Impact on Sri Lanka’s Telecom Landscape

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Bharti Airtel and Dialog Axiata have recently unveiled plans to fuse their operations in Sri Lanka. The merger, spoken about for nearly a year now, is set to occur through a share swap. Bharti Airtel is projected to exchange its entire shareholding in Airtel Lanka for a 10.4% stake in Dialog Axiata.

A critical part of this merger is the consolidation of Airtel Lanka’s 5 million mobile subscribers with Dialog Axiata’s 17 million users. This union will solidify Dialog Axiata’s dominant position in the Sri Lankan market, furthering its market share to above two-thirds. Other contenders such as Hutch and SLT Mobitel hold just 3.5 million and 7.5 million subscribers, respectively.

The companies joint statement detailed the expected benefits of their consolidation. It illustrated how the merged entity will be able to tap into economies of scale, mitigate redundancy in infrastructure, and harvest the benefits of technology and capital synergies. All these factors aim to bolster high-speed broadband connectivity and enhance services while managing operational costs.

“The merger between Dialog and Airtel Lanka corresponds with Axiata’s resilience and market consolidation strategy,” said Vivek Sood, Group CEO and Managing Director at Axiata Group Berhad. He further acknowledged Airtel Lanka and its employees’ contributions and expressed enthusiasm for future collaboration post-merger.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka has granted regulatory approval for the merger, according to the statement. The timeline for finalizing the merger has, however, yet to be released.

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