Acquisition processes for AirtelTigo to be concluded soon – Ursula

Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that government is at the advanced stages of closing the deal for the acquisition of telecommunication company, AirtelTigo.

She says the state is also finalising processes in compliance with all requirements of the agreements, explaining that these requirements will be fulfilled before the end of the current meeting of Parliament.

In August 2021, the government of Ghana and the parent companies of AirtelTigo, Bharti Airtel Ghana Holdings B.V., and MIC Africa B.V, concluded negotiations and signed an agreement to transfer the shares of the company to the Ghana government following the announcement of the company’s departure from the Ghanaian market in 2020.

This agreement transfers all customers, assets, and agreed liabilities of AirtelTigo to the Government of Ghana.

But Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, while answering questions on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, said the Ministry is collaborating with the Attorney General’s Department to seal essential aspects of the deal.

“We will improve the telecom and ICT sector in full compliance with the laws of the country. So we will complete all constitutional and legal processes by the end of this meeting of parliament for the acquisition of AirtelTigo. The acquisition of telecommunication companies follows a process, and those processes are ongoing. There are phases in these processes from contract signing, regulatory approvals, and closing obligations that parties have to undertake and the legal and regulatory processes that have to be gone through.”

The government has said the decision is aimed at protecting jobs and safeguarding the interest of stakeholders of AirtelTigo which has some 5.1 million customers.

In the last update by the government, it said the arrangement will be concluded by the execution of definitive agreements in due time.

“The contract was signed at a particular period. That was what was announced, and the other closing obligations are ongoing. And when we conclude all of that, part of it being if, on the advice of the Attorney General, we need to comply with any provisions of the law regarding this acquisition, it will be done in due course,” MrsOwusu-Ekuful further added.

Bharti Airtel in 2017 merged with Millicom’sTigo in Ghana to become the country’s second-largest mobile operator, AirtelTigo, with the approval of the National Communications Authority.

Celtel International acquired 75 per cent of Western Telesystems Ltd (Westel) from the Government of Ghana for $120 million in 2007. Celtel was subsequently acquired by the Zain Group which also sold all its African Assets to Bharti Airtel in 2010.

The Government of Ghana remained a shareholder in Airtel Ghana with a 25 per cent holding through the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, until the AirtelTigo merger, and retained an option to acquire additional shares after the merger.

Westel was at the time of the takeover by Celtel, the second national operator in Ghana, and was licensed to provide fixed and mobile (GSM) telecommunications services.

Millicom Ghana Limited was the first mobile telecommunications company to operate in the country under the brand name Mobitel before rebranding to become Tigo.

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