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
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.