MUMBAI: The Qatar Foundation, a non-profit run by Qatar’s royal family, said on Wednesday that it had sold its five per cent stake in telecom major Bharti Airtel for around Rs 9,600 crore. The sale was effected by Three Pillars Pte, an affiliate of Qatar Foundation Endowment, which sold 19.98 crore shares in Bharti Airtel on the open market sale. According to the Foundation, Three Pillars’ representative on board of Bharti Airtel will step down immediately post settlement.
“The proceeds of the share sale will be reinvested as part of the QFE Group’s ongoing global portfolio growth and diversification, as it seeks to generate long-term financial returns by investing across a range of asset-classes, industries and geographies,” the statement said. The proceeds of the share sale will be reinvested across Qatar Foundation Endowment’s global portfolio.
The block trade by Three Pillars was priced at Rs 481 per share, 6.4 per cent lower than Tuesday’s closing value. The Qatar Foundation, however, had picked up the stake at Rs 340 apiece in 2013. Airtel closed 3.73 per cent lower at Rs 495.15 on Sensex on Wednesday. While neither firm named the buyers, reports say they included a mix of foreign and domestic institutional investors.
“We are delighted to have partnered with Bharti Airtel though an important stage of their growth. Bharti Airtel has successfully maintained its market-leading position, and its positive momentum has led to our investment performing well,” said Rashid Al-Naimi, chief executive officer of QFE.
The stake sale comes amid disruptive developments in both countries. Qatar-based investors are paring overseas investments on the backdrop of sanctions imposed by a few Arab countries. In India, the telecom sector is in the midst of an intense tariff war triggered by the 2016 entry of Reliance Jio, with the competitions hitting earnings for several quarters running.