Bharti to raise up to $1 billion through global bond issue

India's top mobile phone carrier, Bharti Airtel, is planning to raise $750 million to $1 billion through a global bond issue to retire its costly Africa debt and fund expansion there, according to a company official who spoke to The Economic Times newspaper.

The issue would be in the form of debentures having a tenure of 10 years, the official,  who ET said,  has direct knowledge of the development, said on condition of anonymity.

The move follows credit ratings agency Fitch reducing the company's outlook to 'negative' from 'stable', citing risks involved in its African operations.

The proposal would come up before the company's board on 4 May, when it is planned to discuss results for the financial year-ended 11 March. The proposal is expected to be cleared during the meeting, according to the official.

According to the official, banks and individuals in the global market would subscribe the debentures and the amount to be raised would depend on the interest rate the company gets and the response from promotional roadshows.

The company had earlier said it would prepay by March 2011 about $900 million of the $7.5 billion loan it took from banks to fund its African acquisition of Kuwait-based Zain Telecom which saw the telco's operations spread to 19 countries stretching from South Asia to Africa.