Indian operator Reliance Communications (R-Com) is to partly sell-off its tower business in an IPO that could fetch the company US$1 billion. R-Com’s owner – billionaire businessman Anil Ambani – told an annual general meeting of shareholders yesterday that the operator would offer 10 percent of its tower business, Reliance Infratel, to investors, reports Financial Times. Ambani did not give a timeframe but a person familiar with the matter said the company planned to file its draft prospectus with regulators this week, starting off an approval process that typically takes three months. The report notes that the IPO is the latest in a surge of equity issues by Indian corporations keen to recapitalise their balance sheets.

R-Com is expected to use the proceeds to fund capex requirements and acquire 3G spectrum in the upcoming Indian spectrum auctions. Ambani said further funds would be raised via a “qualified institutions placement,” the sale of a block of shares to selected institutional investors, but did not specify an amount. According to the Financial Times, Reliance Infratel was valued at almost US$6.75 billion in July 2007 but has since grown exponentially, hosting the equipment of several other operators, including the Indian unit of the UAE’s Etisalat and India’s Tata Teleservices.