ATC Com­pletes Ac­qui­si­tion of 51% Stake in Viom, Srei Makes Exit

ATC said it paid around .₹ 7,600 crore in cash, and took on board .₹ 5,100 cr in ex­ist­ing debt

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bureau

Kolkata: Amer­i­can Tower Cor­po­ra­tion (ATC), Srei Group and Tata Te­le­ser­vices have closed a deal which saw the US tele­com tower com­pany buy 51% stake in Viom Net­works, the Tata group com­pany re­duce stake to 32% and the Kolkata-based in­fras­truc­ture-fo­cused en­tity exit the In­dian com­pany.

In a state­ment Thurs­day, ATC said it paid around .₹ 7,600 crore in cash and took on board around .₹ 5,100 crore in ex­ist­ing ru­pee-de­nom­i­nated debt. It added that the com­pany used debt and cash-on-hand to fund the cash por­tion of the deal. “The ac­qui­si­tion of Viom makes us the lead­ing in­de­pen­dent tele­com in­fras­truc­ture provider and will al­low us bet­ter serve our cus­tomers as they ex­pand their 3G/4G net­work reach and ca­pac­ity,” Amit Sharma – ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and pres­i­dent, Asia, Amer­i­can Tower said in the state­ment.

With this ac­qui­si­tion, ATC will own 57,000 tow­ers in In­dia. It still trails In­dus Tow­ers, a joint ven­ture be­tween Bharti Air­tel, Voda­fone In­dia and Idea Cel­lu­lar, which is the largest tower com­pany in the country with over 100,000 tow­ers.

In a sep­a­rate state­ment, Srei said it has re­ceived .₹ 2,931 crore af­ter of­fload­ing its 18.5% stake in Viom to ATC.

Srei vice-chair­man Su­nil Kano­ria, who is also the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Viom, said the stake sale pro­ceeds would “lead to sub­stan­tial cash-in­flow into Srei, which would help it “lower debt and re­duce in-

ter­est cost, thereby aug­ment­ing cap­i­tal and im­prov­ing fu­ture prof­itabil­ity”.

Ear­lier this month, the Cabi­net Com­mit­tee on Eco­nomic Af­fairs ap­proved ATC’s ac­qui­si­tion of a 51% stake in Viom for over .₹ 7,600 crore. ATC had an­nounced its plans to buy into Viom, which op­er­ates over 42,000 tow­ers across In­dia, last Oc­to­ber. ATC has ac­quired a ma­jor­ity stake in Viom through its Sin­ga­pore arm, ATC Asia Pa­cific Pte Ltd. Post the deal, Tata Te­le­ser­vices' stake is down to 32% with SBI Mac­quarie hold­ing 11%. Viom was a joint ven­ture be­tween Tata Te­le­ser­vices (54%) and Srei (18.5%), while the bal­ance shares are held by a clutch of pri­vate equity firms, in­clud­ing SBI Mac­quarie In­fras­truc­ture Fund, Sin­ga­pore-based GIC In­vest­ments, IDFC Pri­vate Equity and Fun­der­burk Mau­ri­tius Ltd (Oman). Credit Suisse was fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor to Viom, Srei and Viom’s other share­hold­ers.

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