Airtel to cut $4.6 bn debt in three years
09 May 2018
Bharti Airtel Ltd. is planning to pare $4.6 billion from its net borrowings over the next three years by listing its African unit and potentially selling some stake in its tower business to protect its investment grade ratings, Bloomberg reported citing a source.
The company plans to raise around $1.5 billion by listing a quarter of the equity in its Africa unit by early 2019 in either London or South Africa, the report said.
The twin deals will help Bharti Airteel improve its balance sheet after net debt rose almost 45 per cent to $14.6 billion over four years as the company borrowed to buy spectrum and defend its position against market disruptive rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
The build-up, which came with an eight-quarter-long stretch of earnings declines, has put Bharti Airtel at risk of a downgrade to junk at both Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.