Air­tel raises US$952m from In­fratel stake

New Straits Times - - Business -

NEW DELHI: Bharti Air­tel Ltd raised US$952 mil­lion (RM4.21 bil­lion) sell­ing a stake in its tower unit as In­dia’s largest car­rier looks to pare debt as com­pe­ti­tion in­ten­si­fies in the world’s sec­ond­largest smart­phone market.

A group of in­vestors led by KKR & Co and Canada Pen­sion Plan In­vest­ment Board bought over 190 mil­lion shares, or 10.3 per cent of Bharti In­fratel Ltd, for 61.93 bil­lion ru­pees (RM4.21 bil­lion), it said in a fil­ing.

Air­tel, con­trolled by bil­lion­aire Su­nil Bharti Mit­tal, would use the pro­ceeds to pare debt, it said.

“Air­tel had been con­sid­er­ing sell­ing a con­trol­ling stake in the ven­ture, but the an­nounced con­sol­i­da­tion be­tween Voda­fone and Idea knocked the stock off its highs,” said San­ford C. Bern­stein an­a­lyst Chris Lane.

“So while it’s a step in the right di­rec­tion in re­duc­ing debt, we in­fer the smaller deal means Air­tel has de­cided to wait for the price of In­fratel to cor­rect be­fore sell­ing a larger stake.” Bloomberg

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