The Qatar Foundation, a major investor in Bharti Airtel, is planning to sell its 5 per cent stake in the Indian operator for approximately $1.5 billion.
The Qatari investor, a nonprofit organisation run by the country’s royal family, is offering as many as 199.9 million Airtel shares at INR473 to INR480 ($7.3 to $7.4), through its affiliate Three Pillars Pte, according to deal terms seen by Bloomberg.
The price range is a discount of 4.7-8 per cent of Airtel’s Tuesday closing price.
The move comes as Qatar was forced to reevaluate some of its foreign assets and instead boost its own economy, after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with the country in June.
Qatar has faced global scrutiny after being accused of supporting and funding terrorism, allegations which have been denied.
The Qatar fund first agreed to acquire a 5 per cent stake in Airtel in 2013 for INR68 billion ($1.26 billion) at the time, in a move designed to boost the operator’s capital structure as well as offering potential funds for its future growth.
However, the political situation has seen the country’s sovereign wealth fund – the Qatar Investment Authority – reduce its holdings in a number of international companies in recent months, including Russian energy firm Rosneft, Swiss bank Credit Suisse and jeweler Tiffany & Co.
Airtel is also facing its own issues as increased competition in the Indian market takes its toll.
Last week, the company announced it had suffered its sixth consecutive quarterly decline in profit during its fiscal Q2.