The Tanzanian government and India-based Bharti Airtel have agreed to raise the government’s stake in the telecommunications company to 49 percent from 40 percent.
The news was announced after a meeting between President John Magufuli and Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal which was held in Dar es Salaam to resolve a dispute over ownership of the Tanzanian mobile operator.
The new arrangement will bring down Airtel’s shareholding to 51 percent from 60 percent. In addition to giving more shares to the government, Bharti Airtel has also agreed to pay dividends to the state.
“We have in principle agreed to move forward with a new arrangement of the shareholding of 51:49 — where Airtel will now drop from 60 percent to 51 percent and the people of Tanzania through the ownership of the government of Tanzania will own 49 percent,” Mr. Mittal said, reported Economic Times.
He added that the negotiation is aimed to make Airtel stronger, bring benefits to both the parties as well as improve communication services for the company.
While the value of the share transfer deal remained undisclosed, Mr. Magufuli said the percentage of dividends is still under discussion.
“It’s great that they have agreed to give dividends to the government, which for eight to 10 years we had not received,” the President said adding, “The percentage of dividends is still under discussion.”
Notably, back in 2017, Mr. Magufuli claimed that the state-run Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) owned the local subsidiary of Bharti Airtel outright but had been cheated out of shares. But Bharti Airtel refuted the accusations saying it received all the required approvals from the state when it bought a 60 percent stake and had complied with all government rules.
Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo Tanzania, and Halotel are some of the other mobile phone operators offering services in Tanzania.