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Fitch expects Sri Lanka Airtel unit to seek M&A

ECONOMYNEXT – Fitch Ratings said it expected Airtel Lanka, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel to seek mergers and acquisition deal as the island’s mobile sector consolidates.

In 2018, Etisalat Lanka and Hutch merged.

“We expect further sector consolidation, and believe Airtel Lanka, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel Limited (BBB-/Negative), may seek M&A due to mobile competition and higher taxes amid capex needs,” Fitch Ratings said.

“Airtel Lanka acquired the 900MHz spectrum that was surrendered when Etisalat Lanka and Hutch Lanka merged in 2018.

“We expect the telcos to focus on profitability, and price-based competition not to intensify.”

Fitch said it expected Dialog Axiata, the market leader in the island to continue to gain market share. (Colombo/Mar16/2021)

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