Bharti Airtel authorised a special committee to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of fundraising options, while taking steps to extract value from its stake in infrastructure unit Bharti Infratel.
The company is looking to shore-up its balance sheet in the face of continued tough competition in India’s telecoms sector. Reliance Jio is continuing its aggressive play in the market, while the combination of Vodafone and Idea Cellular has also seen the creation of an emboldened rival.
Vodafone Idea has also said it is looking to raise new funds, supported by shareholders Vodafone Group and Aditya Birla Group.
Reports state Airtel is looking to raise $2 billion through its latest efforts. The company also has an IPO of its African assets in the pipeline, having recently raised $1.25 billion to support this business.
Subject to shareholder approval, a 32 per cent stake in tower business Infratel will be sold or transferred to a separate unit, called Nettle Infrastructure Investments (which already exists, with a 3.2 per cent Infratel holding). After this, Airtel will still have an 18.3 per cent direct stake, while 46.5 per cent is public or held by other shareholders.
It said the move comes “in order to explore a potential monetisation” of the Infratel stake. The Economic Times mooted a value of more than INR150 billion ($2.1 billion) for the transferred stake, based on current share prices.
The company also announced Global CFO Nilanjan Roy will stand down at end-February 2019, to be replaced by Badal Bagri. Roy is joining Indian IT giant Infosys as CFO on 1 March.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back