Bharti Airtel offloads manufacturing operation to Brightstar

Indian operator group Bharti Airtel on Tuesday sold its majority stake in local manufacturing and distribution operation Beetel to US-based wireless logistics and distribution firm Brightstar for an undisclosed sum.

Under the agreement a Brightstar subsidiary will acquire a majority interest in Beetel Teletech, bringing the latest mobile devices and accessories from top manufacturers for distribution through Beetel’s established operations throughout India.

“The Indian mobile market is entering the next phase of growth, which will be driven by data services on 3G and 4G technologies. The smartphone market in the country recorded triple-digit growth in 2013 and offers a huge opportunity going forward,” said Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises. “The new mobile businesses and related technologies that Brightstar is bringing to Beetel will help drive significant growth by leveraging our deep distribution strength.”

Founded in 1985, Beetel manufactures fixed line telephones for Airtel, BSNL and MTNL as well as the retail market and distributes brands such as Samsung, Panasonic, Polycom, Avaya, AMX, Extron, RADWIN, Huawei and SanDisk.

Beetel will retain its name and all existing employees, and will continue operating from its headquarters in Gurgaon, India, the companies said.

Bharti has been looking to save cash lately, offloading non-core assets. Earlier this month the company divested 3,100 telecom towers across its African markets to Helios Towers Africa for an undisclosed sum. While last month the company signed a definitive agreement to merge operations with that of Loop Mobile and create Mumbai’s largest mobile network as part of a strategic plan unveiled in February of this year under which Bharti proposed to combined operations with Loop in the Mumbai service area.

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