Bharti In­fratel plans to buy In­dus Tow­ers

Air­tel arm re­ports 17% drop in Q2 profit to ₹638 crore

The Hindu Business Line - - IT & TELECOM -

Tower in­fras­truc­ture com­pany Bharti In­fratel on Mon­day said its board of di­rec­tors has de­cided to ex­plore ac­qui­si­tion of stake in In­dus Tow­ers.

The com­pany is look­ing at ac­quir­ing the stake in one or more tranches in In­dus Tow­ers with an aim of mak­ing it a sub­sidiary or wholly-owned sub­sidiary of Bharti In­fratel, it said.

Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try ex­perts, if the ac­qui­si­tion is suc­cess­ful, this will make the com­bined en­tity the largest tower com­pany by a huge mar­gin. In­dus is al­ready the big­gest tower com­pany with 1,23,073 tow­ers with 2,98,929 co-lo­ca­tions in 15 cir­cles. The com­bined en­tity is also well po­si­tioned to take on the next phase of growth as 4G and 5G roll­out in the coun­try.

With Voda­fone, Idea and Reliance Com­mu­ni­ca­tions out of the tower busi­ness, Bharti In­fratel is set to com­pete with only Amer­i­can Tower, if the deal gets through.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, pri­vate eq­uity in­vestors could also pick stake in the com­bined en­tity.

In­dus was in­cor­po­rated in Novem­ber 2007 and Bharti Air­tel, Bharti In­fratel, Voda­fone In­dia (cer­tain of its sub­sidiaries), Idea Cel­lu­lar and Idea Cel­lu­lar In­fras­truc­ture en­tered into the In­dus Share Hold­ers Agree­ment (SHA) to gov­ern their re­la­tion­ship with re­spect to In­dus and its day-to-day op­er­a­tions.

In ac­cor­dance with the Frame­work Agree­ment, Bharti In­fratel, Voda­fone In­dia and Akhil Gupta

Aditya Birla Tele­com hold 42 per cent, 42 per cent and 16 per cent share­hold­ing, re­spec­tively, in In­dus.

Dur­ing the quar­ter ended March this year, Aditya Birla Tele­com trans­ferred 4.85 per cent of its stake in In­dus to P5 Asia Hold­ing In­vest­ment (Mau­ri­tius) Ltd.

As on Septem­ber 30, Bharti In­fratel, Voda­fone In­dia and Aditya Birla Tele­com hold share­hold­ing in­ter­est of 42 per cent, 42 per cent and 11.15 per cent, re­spec­tively, in In­dus.

There­fore, Bharti In­fratel buy­ing In­dus Tow­ers would mean the com­pany pay­ing the ac­qui­si­tion amount to th­ese com­pa­nies for buy­ing all the stake. How­ever, the com­pany has not given any de­tails as of now. Bharti In­fratel de­ploys, owns and man­ages tele­com tow­ers and com­mu­ni­ca­tion struc­tures for var­i­ous mo­bile op­er­a­tors.

The com­pany has a con­sol­i­dated port­fo­lio of over 90,000 tow­ers, which in­cludes over 39,000 of its own tow­ers and the bal­ance from its 42 per cent eq­uity in­ter­est in In­dus Tow­ers. It has pres­ence in all 22 tele­com cir­cles.

Mean­while, the com­pany re­ported a 17 per cent drop in its con­sol­i­dated net profit to ₹638 crore for the sec­ond quar­ter ended Septem­ber 30, com­pared with ₹774 crore in the same pe­riod last year.

Rev­enue up 11%

How­ever, con­sol­i­dated rev­enue for the July-Septem­ber quar­ter rose by 11 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to ₹3,648 crore against ₹3,292 crore in the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year.

“As Bharti In­fratel and In­dus Tow­ers, we are well po­si­tioned to grab our fair share of mar­ket and cre­ate sus­tain­able value for all stake­hold­ers,” Akhil Gupta, Chair­man, Bharti In­fratel, said.

He said In­dian tele­com had em­braced a data-cen­tric model and was emerg­ing the “show­case” of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy with op­er­a­tors rolling out 4G net­works and In­dia plan­ning a lead­er­ship role on up­com­ing 5G tech­nol­ogy and as­so­ci­ated ap­pli­ca­tions.

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