More reports on: Telecom

Airtel sells 10.3% stake in Bharti Infratel to KKR, Canada Pension for Rs6,194 cr

28 March 2017

Sunil Bharti MittalBharti Airtel Ltd, India's largest telco, today said that it has sold 10.3-per cent stake in its tower company Bharti Infratel Ltd to US private equity firm KKR  & Co and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for Rs6,194 crore ($952 million).

Airtel has sold 190 million shares of Bharti Infratel in secondary sale for Rs 325 per share.

This transaction makes it KKR's second investment in Bharti Infratel. Previously, the funds managed by KKR had invested in Bharti Infratel during the period 2008 to 2015.

Post closing, New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel will hold 61.7 per cent in Bharti Infratel, while KKR and CPPIB will hold a combined 10.3 per cent.

Post this transaction, the stake held by KKR and CPPIB (combined) will be the single largest public shareholder block.

''Bharti Airtel will primarily use the proceeds from this sale to reduce its debt,'' the company said in a statement.

Bharti Airtel has accumulated debts of Rs67,763 crore after it acquired Telenor India.

Bharti Infratel is one of India's largest providers of tower and related infrastructure. It owns and manages telecom towers and communication structures, for various mobile operators.

The company has over 90,000 telecom towers, which includes over 38,500 of its own towers and the balance from its 42-per cent stake in Indus Towers, making it one of the largest tower infrastructure providers in the country with presence in all 22 telecom circles.

The three leading wireless telecommunications service providers in India by revenue - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular - are the largest customers of Bharti Infratel.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel 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. The long-term investment horizon of the investors aligns well with the capital needs and business cycles of Bharti Infratel,'' he added.

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