Bangladesh HC approves Robi-Airtel merger

Dhaka: A high court bench in Bangladesh on Wednesday approved the merger proposal of Robi Axiata Limited and Airtel Bangladesh Limited, paving way for the formation of the country's second largest mobile operator.

The merged entity will have to pay Tk 100 crore as merger fees, said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission's lawyer Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib, the Daily Star reported.

Apart from the merger fees, the merged entity will have to pay Tk 33.8 crore for each Megahertz of Airtel's 2G spectrums to be used by Robi for the next four years.

Robi and Airtel opened talks on a possible merger in August 2015, and on January 28 this year the operators' parent companies signed a deal to that effect.

As of June this year, Robi had around 27.5 million subscribers while Airtel nearly 10 million, according to BTRC.

After the merger, the company will be named as Robi and will have the second largest subscriber base in the country after Grameenphone.

In the merged entity, Axiata, the parent company of Robi, will hold a 68.7 per cent controlling stake, while Bharti Airtel will hold 25 per cent and NTT DOCOMO of Japan 6.3 per cent, the Daily Star reported.

Currently, Malaysia-based Axiata has 91.59 per cent stakes in Robi and Japan's DOCOMO 8.41 per cent, meaning both their shares in the Bangladeshi operation will be diluted after the merger.

On July 31, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the merger proposals.