July 9, 2010 / 10:58 AM / 10 years ago

Bharti to invest $150 mln in Kenya: Africa CEO

A traffic policeman directs traffic under an advisement of Bharti Airtel at a booth in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad July 31, 2009. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NAIROBI (Reuters) - India’s Bharti Airtel will invest $150 million in Kenya to help boost network and capacity distribution, its regional chief executive said on Friday, without giving a time frame.

Bharti took over mobile operations in 15 African nations when it completed the acquisition of the African assets of Kuwait’s Zain last month. The deal made it the world’s No.5 mobile phone operator by subscribers.

“Kenya offers a great opportunity to grow. We will start with a rural focus,” Manoj Kohli told reporters in Nairobi.

Kohli said, as part of its strategy, the firm would look to share infrastructure with other operators in East Africa’s largest economy to cut costs.

Bharti spent $9 billion buying Zain’s assets in Africa.

The acquisition gives Bharti 42 million customers in Africa and $3.6 billion in annual revenue, but there are financial and management challenges as it deals with 15 governments and people speaking more than 1,000 languages.

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