Bharti Airtel will receive $129 million from Zain, Kuwait’s number one telecom operator and one time telecom operator in Nigeria, for settlement of its various claims and disputes in Nigeria. Bharti acquired Zain’s African business for $10.7 billion six years ago.
“Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV and Zain Telecom have reached an agreement, pursuant to which Zain will pay for settlement of Airtel’s claims on account of the Nigeria litigation, certain tax matters and associated legal costs,” Airtel said.
Under the terms of the 2010 share sale and purchase agreement, Zain had provided Airtel certain indemnities covering the Nigeria litigation and for certain tax claims. After acquiring Zain’s telecom business, Airtel ran into dispute with Econet Wireless — a minority stakeholder in Zain Telecom. Bharti Airtel lost a court case in Nigeria and potentially faced $3 billion in payout over a 5% stake claimed by Econet Wireless in its Nigerian unit.
“A separate settlement has been reached between Airtel and Econet Wireless Ltd settling all claims, disputes whatsoever, between the two including in Nigeria and Netherlands. With these settlements, Airtel has closed several ongoing major litigations in Nigeria, UK and Netherlands,” said India’s largest telecom operator.
The payment will have no future financial impact on Zain as it set aside provisions to cover potential payments related to the transaction at the time of the sale, a spokesman for Zain, which operates in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa, said.