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Mon 29 Mar 2010 03:06 PM

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Bharti, Zain close to signing $9bn deal

Sources say firms are set to seal the deal for sale of Kuwaiti firm's African assets on Tuesday.

Bharti, Zain close to signing $9bn deal
DEAL SEALED: Sources say the firms will sign the agreement in Amsterdam on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

India's Bharti Airtel and Kuwait's Zain are likely to sign agreements for the Indian firm's $9 billion buy of Zain's African assets on Tuesday, two sources said.

The agreements will be signed in Amsterdam, the base of the target unit Zain Africa BV, one of the sources said. Both the sources declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

A Bharti Airtel spokesman declined comment.

Earlier, two Kuwaiti newspapers reported the deal was likely to be signed on Tuesday.

Bharti and Zain said in separate statements last week the due diligence for the assets had been completed and the companies were working towards finalising the definitive agreements.

Bharti had said it expected the agreements to be signed soon. Zain's chairman was quoted on Saturday as saying the deal would be signed in the next few days, though the closing could take weeks or months.

Both Bharti and Zain have said they would seek any required approvals after the signing of the deal.

Bharti, controlled by Indian billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal, who started his career selling bicycle parts, is desperate to expand in new markets as cut-rate competition at home squeezes profit margins.

Zain's assets will give the Indian mobile market leader a footprint in 15 African countries.

Bharti Airtel shares closed 0.2 percent higher on Monday, underperforming the broader market that gained 0.4 percent. Zain shares ended 1.5 percent up at 1.4 Kuwaiti dinars. (Reuters)

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