Mumbai: Bharti Airtel Ltd borrowed $150 million (Rs 837 crore) through its Singapore unit to finance expansion in Africa, said a person familiar with the funding plan.
Bharti International Singapore Pte. signed a one-year, dollar-denominated loan with Axis Bank Ltd, the person said, declining to be identified because the details are private. Bharti, India’s 10th-most indebted company, has $9.18 billion of debt coming due by 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Sunil Mittal’s Bharti will invest $100 million in the central African nation of Rwanda over the next three years, according to an e-mailed statement on 30 March. The mobile-phone carrier is also expanding in Kenya after acquiring the African assets of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. to counter slowing growth in India.
This year, Bharti’s target capital spending in Africa is $1 billion, said Naveen Kulkarni, an analyst at brokerage MF Global Sify Securities India Pvt. Ltd. This loan is required to expand coverage and stay competitive in Africa.
Bharti spokesman Ashutosh Sharma declined to comment on the loan when called on his mobile-phone on Wednesday.
Shares of Bharti fell 0.34% to Rs 307.65 at the close of trading on BSE. The company ended March with 250 million subscribers across 20 countries, according to a 2 May statement. Debt exceeded cash and cash equivalents by Rs 650 billion as of 31 March, increasing from Rs 600 billion a year earlier, the company said in its quarterly report.