Qatari investor to sell 5% stake in Bharti Airtel for Rs9,500 crore
Dubai/Mumbai: A Qatari investor plans to sell 5% stake in top Indian telecoms carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd on Friday for about Rs9,500 crore ($1.46 billion), adding to the Gulf nation’s recent stake sales in foreign companies. Three Pillars Pte Ltd, an affiliate of the Qatar Foundation, has put up for sale through stock market transactions about 199.9 million shares in Bharti Airtel in a price range of Rs473-490 each, according to a deal term sheet.
The price range is a discount of 4.7-8% to Bharti Airtel’s Tuesday closing price, but far higher than the Rs340 Three Pillars paid for it in 2013.
The stake sale comes after other Qatari companies, including its sovereign wealth fund, have been cutting stakes in foreign companies and raising cash to withstand pressure on its economy, which has been hit by economic sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since early June.
The Gulf countries cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge which Doha denies.
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has responded to the crisis by pumping billions of dollars into local banks to shore up their deposits.
It has also reduced its stake in upscale jeweller Tiffany & Co., Russian energy giant Rosneft and Swiss bank Credit Suisse.
Indian telecom stocks, including Bharti Airtel, have also gained on signs of an end to a bruising price war and hopes that industry consolidation will benefit established players.
Bharti Airtel shares fell 3.4% to close at Rs514.35 ahead of the news on Tuesday, but are still up more than 68 percent in 2017.
A spokesman for the Bharti Group declined to comment.
Rashed Fahad Al-Noaimi, chief executive officer of investments at Qatar Foundation, is on Bharti Airtel’s board.
UBS is the handling the planned share sale, according to the term sheet.
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