Bharti Airtel to sell 5% stake to Qatar Foundation for $1.26 bn

Sunil Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom service provider, today said that it will sell a 5-per cent stake in the company to Qatar Foundation Endowment (QFE) for $1.26 billion (Rs6,765 crore) in order to strengthen its capital structure and fund future growth plans.

Under the deal, New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel will issue 199,870,006 of its new shares or 5 per cent stake to QFE at Rs340 per share, a 7.3 per cent premium to the stock's yesterday closing price.

The investment comes after Bharti Airtel recently raised $1.5 billion through overseas bonds in order to service its massive $11.7 billion debt.

Commenting on the QFE investment, Sunil Mittal, chairman, Bharti Airtel said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange, "This strategic partnership with QFE demonstrates the confidence they have in the company and our strategy for growth.''

"In addition, this agreement exemplifies further strengthening of the already deep economic and cultural relations between Qatar and India. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with QFE," he added.

QFE, chaired by Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, wife of the ruler of Qatar, is a $9.7 billion endowment fund that focuses on education and research.