NEW DELHI: Telecom major Bharti Airtel has pared its stake in its mobile tower subsidiary Bharti Infratel by 83 million shares, which it sold for Rs 3,325 crore through secondary share sale. The firm said the sale proceeds would be used to pare debts.
After the stake sale, Bharti Airtel and its wholly-owned subsidiaries’ shareholding in Bharti Infratel will come down to 53.51 per cent from 58 per cent as of September 2017. The consolidated debt of the firm stood at Rs 91,480 crore. “The sale was for a total consideration of over Rs 3,325 crore ($510 million) and was executed at Rs 400.6 per share, representing a discount of 3.6 per cent to the previous day’s closing price,” it said.
Buyers included an amalgam of global investors, fund managers and long-only funds, including many repeat investors, with the deal upsized by over 25 per cent given “healthy investor appetite”.
The development is part of an extended phase of consolidation and fund raising in the telecom sector, which has been thrown into chaos following the disruptive entry of Reliance Jio last year. All major competitors have been engaged in a tariff battle that has taken a toll on profitability over the past few quarters.
Earlier this year, Airtel had sold a 10.3 per cent stake in Bharti Infratel to a consortium of KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for Rs 6,193.9 crore. Last month, Bharti Airtel had disclosed that a few ‘reputed’ global investors had approached it for buying a controlling stake in Bharti Infratel. Infratel, in turn, announced it would explore acquiring a bigger stake in joint venture Indus Towers. Bharti Infratel and Vodafone India hold 42 per cent stake in Indus Towers, with the rest held by Idea Cellular.