Long awaited telecom merger between Robi and Airtel has been deferred once again as the parent companies delayed their agreement till September 26, reports Indian media.
On January 28 this year, both the parent companies signed a Definitive Agreement to merge Robi and Airtel and were expected to implement it in Bangladesh in the first half of this year.
However, the government of Bangladesh did not come to any conclusive decision about the issue although Robi and Airtel jointly applied for the merger September 17 last year, sources said.
However, officials of Robi, leading the merger issue here in Bangladesh, said they have no idea about the news report.
On June 24 and June 25, some Indian newspapers reported about the deferring issue.
One of the newspapers, The Economic Times, with reference to regulatory filling said, “Bharti Airtel Limited and Axiata Group Berhad have on June 24, 2016 agreed to further extend the (date for signing) Agreement until September 26, 2016, or such other date as the parties may agree.”
Upon completion of the merger, Axiata will hold 68.3 percent controlling stake and Bharti Airtel 25 percent, while the remaining 6.7 percent will be held by the existing shareholder -- NTT Docomo of Japan.
Post-merger, the combined entity operating as 'Robi' will serve approximately 40 million customers.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) raised a demand of Tk 770 crore for the merger process. But the government did not come to any conclusion about the issue and could not finalise it and the High Court for the fifth time extended time after government’s application.
Airtel had entered Bangladesh by acquiring 70 percent stakes in Warid Telecom in 2010 with only $100,000. Subsequently, it picked up the remaining 30 percent too in 2013 with $85 million.
Robi started business here in Bangladesh in 1997 and only started making profit for the last few years.