Vodafone appoints coordinators for $2-3 bn IPO

British telecoms operator Vodafone has mandated Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA), Kotak Investment Banking and UBS as joint global coordinators for the IPO of its Indian unit, IFR reported.

The IPO is expected to raise $2 billion-$3 billion, the report said, citing two sources close to the matter. At the upper end, would make it India's biggest stock market listing since state-owned Coal India Ltd raised $3.5 billion in 2010.

Vodafone had organised pitch meetings for banks on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the report added. Reuters reported last week that Vodafone had invited foreign and Indian banks to pitch for its long-awaited Indian IPO.

Vodafone was not immediately available for comment outside its regular business hours. BofA, Kotak and UBS did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Deutsche Bank, HSBC and ICICI Securities have won joint book-runner roles, the people added, declining to be identified as the information is not public. Vodafone is likely to launch the IPO early next year, they said.

The deal offers a rare opportunity for international banks in a market where equity capital raisings worth more than $1 billion are uncommon and where stock underwriting fees are amongst the lowest in the world.

 Vodafone said in November it had started preparations for floating its Indian subsidiary. IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, said in a report the IPO is expected to raise $2 billion-$3 billion.

Vodafone, India's second-largest mobile operator behind Bharti Airtel, had raised the prospect of a listing in India as early as 2011. The company is one of the largest corporate investors in Asia's third-largest economy and is expected to use the proceeds to buy additional radio spectrum and further expand its operations across India's crowded and cut-throat telecoms market.

Indian mobile phone operators have been spending heavily in setting up fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband data networks to meet expected demand.

 Vodafone entered India in 2007, when it acquired a majority stake in Hutchison Essar and since 2014 has wholly owned Vodafone India, which operates in a market that has over a billion mobile subscribers - the second-biggest market in the world behind China.

Kotak Investment Banking is a unit of Kotak Mahindra Bank.