Commenting on the $1.5-billion deal - the largest single foreign investment ever made in India, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and group managing director of Bharti, said, "We are delighted that Vodafone has made a call on the Indian telecom sector and has chosen BTVL to be the vehicle to develop its continued interest in the Asian region. Bharti has had the privilege of tying up with 'best in class', blue chip companies, from around the world who have come and joined hands with Bharti, at different stages, to develop the telecom sector in India.
"At the time when the western world started hanging up on India, it brought in Asia's telecom powerhouse, SingTel, to replace Telecom Italia and British Telecom. SingTel helped Bharti with the capital and strategy to grow from a mid-size telecom operator into India's largest telecom company. Warburg Pincus, making its second largest investment in the history of the firm, supported the company in developing the strategy and investor focus, in its public listing and in the process making Bharti one of the best investments ever undertaken by Warburg Pincus around the world.
"Today, when Bharti stands on the threshold of being an Asian telecom powerhouse, it has tied up with Vodafone to take the company to the next level and to support Bharti in achieving its vision of making Airtel the most admired brand in India. Bharti is fortunate to have four strong pillars to achieve its vision. The entrepreneurial leadership of Bharti Enterprises, the Asian telecom powerhouse - SingTel which will continue to be our leading partner, the world's largest telecom operator - Vodafone and, the most important one, a world-class management team."
Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone Group Plc., speaking on the occasion, said "I am delighted to announce this strategic partnership with BTVL, the leading national mobile operator in India. Together we will take this venture to a new level as clear leader in this market. We are entering a relationship with a major company, which shares our vision and values and understands, as we do, the enormous potential of mobile telephony in society. This transaction is consistent with Vodafone's strategy of developing our global footprint in growth markets, where we can create value for shareholders."
Bharti Tele-Ventures is the only operator to provide mobile services in all the 23 circles in India. The company also provides telephone services and internet access over DSL in 15 circles. The company complements its mobile, broadband and telephone services with national and international long distance services.
It has a submarine cable landing station at Chennai, which connects the submarine cable connecting Chennai and Singapore. The company provides reliable end-to-end data and enterprise services to the corporate customers by leveraging its nationwide fiber optic backbone, last mile connectivity in fixed-line and mobile circles, VSATs, ISP and international bandwidth access through the gateways and landing station.
" Today we are pleased to welcome Vodafone as our partner to further develop the Indian telecom market and to take Bharti to greater success," said Lee Hsien Yang, CEO, SingTel, on the Bharti_Vodafone deal. "We entered into India through a partnership with Bharti Enterprises at a time when many were sceptical about India's telecom story. We are delighted that Bharti, with SingTel's support, has successfully executed its growth strategy. Bharti's entrepreneurial spirit and innovative culture continue to drive the company's growth.
Calling the growth of Bharti "one of the most compelling growth stories in India's history", Chip Kaye, co-president, Warburg Pincus, said, "Having invested in Bharti in 1999 and working closely along the way with a world-class management team and a leader of the calibre of Sunil Mittal, it is gratifying to see the company take this step toward its next phase of growth"
Dalip Pathak, the Warburg Pincus senior partner who oversees the firm's Indian investment portfolio, added: "Bharti is now truly a world-class company and as we depart, we wish the company well and are confident that it will continue to attract interest from investors around the world."
also see : Bharti Televentures
to sell 10-per cent stake to Vodafone