Emirates Telecommunications Group Company (Etisalat Group) has released a statement confirming it has completed the sale of its 100% stake in mobile network operator (MNO) Etisalat Lanka to Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Hutch Lanka). In announcing the amalgamation of the two MNOs on the island, the pair noted: ‘Upon completion of the sale CK Hutchison Holdings Limited group will have a majority and controlling stake of 85% whilst Etisalat Group will have 15% ownership of Hutch Lanka.’ The move follows April 2018’s agreement between Etisalat and Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison to merge Sri Lanka’s third and fourth largest cellcos, under the UAE-based group’s ‘portfolio optimisation strategy’, subject to securing the necessary competition and regulatory approvals in Sri Lanka – which they now have. The enlarged entity, which will have a combined mobile subscriber market share of 27% according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, now hopes to mount a credible challenge to market leader Dialog Axiata (44%), current number two player Mobitel (21%), and Bharti Airtel’s local unit which is the smallest player in the market (8%).
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