Bharti Airtel sold a 10.3 per cent stake in its tower unit Infratel to a consortium of investors for INR61.9 billion ($952 million), funds which will be used to reduce the company’s debt.

The buyers, a consortium of investors led by private equity company KKR and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, had been rumoured to be interested in acquiring a “significant” stake in Infratel during October 2016 after Airtel’s board approved plans to sell off a proportion of the unit.

Earlier this month, reports emerged suggesting the company had dropped initial plans to sell a controlling stake in the tower business in favour of disposing of around 22 per cent. Following the sale announced today, Airtel’s holding in Bharti Infratel is reduced to 61.7 per cent.

In a stock exchange filing, the company said the proceeds would be used to pare back debt.

Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: “This investment by a consortium of marquee, long-term investors underlines the confidence of the global investors in India’s growth story and the government’s Digital India initiative in particular. It further reinforces the positive outlook for the telecom infrastructure sector.”

Airtel’s sale comes a week after the Competition Commission of India cleared a deal from rival telco Reliance Communications to sell a 51 per cent stake in its tower business to Canadian investment company Brookfield Group.