India’s leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel is hoping to find up to $1 billion via a bond issue that will support its bid in a forthcoming spectrum auction as well as possible acquisitions, said Economic Times.
The issue would push Bharti towards its target of having $3-4 billion to hand for the auction likely to happen in January, as well as lead any consolidation in the Indian mobile market.
Sources say the plan is to sell bonds mainly to European investors in what would be the operator’s third issue this year.
The Indian government is set to sell off frequencies in the 900 MHz band in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai on 21 January. Bharti already holds this spectrum in the first two cities but current licences expire in late 2014.
The Indian market leader also wants to be one of the forces to shape future consolidation where smaller operators are tipped to sell out to larger rivals.