Bharti Airtel said on Tuesday that it has raised Rs 2,570 crore by selling 6.753 crore shares in its tower and infrastructure unit Bharti Infratel Ltd. India’s largest telecommunication services operator will use the proceeds of the sale to pare its existing debt, it said in a statement. The share sale was conducted in secondary stock markets on NSE and BSE at Rs 380.6 per share, representing a discount of 4% to the previous day’s closing price. Bharti Infratel shares fell today morning and were trading down 3.6% at Rs 383.65.
“Following the closure of this transaction, Bharti Airtel and its wholly owned subsidiaries together have an equity holding of 58% in Bharti Infratel,” the company said in the statement. “The allocation was done to global tower company investors, fund managers and long only funds, including many repeat investors,” it added. UBS and JPMorgan were joint placement agents for the transaction.
Earlier in March, Bharti Airtel sold 10.3% stake in Bharti Infratel to KKR and Canada Pension at Rs 325 per share, for a total consideration of Rs 6,194 crore, again to use the proceeds from the sale primarily to reduce its debt. Later, it also transferred 11.32% stake in Bharti Infratel to its wholly-owned company Nettle Infrastructure Investments for Rs 6,806 crore.
Bharti Airtel is due to be dislodged to the second position in the Indian telecom market, after the mega merger between its two largest rivals Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which has this week got a conditional approval from the capital markets regulator SEBI and stock exchanges NSE and BSE.
This year, Bharti Airtel has acquired wireless broadband internet service provider Tikona Digital Network’s 4G business for Rs 1,600 crore. The deal includes buyout of Tikona’s Broadband Wireless Access spectrum and 350 sites in five telecom circles. Recently, Bharti Airtel also acquired smaller telecom operator Telenor India to further augment its customer base and network, amid the ongoing consolidation in the Indian telecom sector after the entry of Reliance Jio with its free voice and data services.