Bharti Airtel plans to issue NCDs to raise up to Rs3,000 crore
New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd plans to issue non-convertible debentures (NCDs) worth up to Rs3,000 crore on a private placement basis, the company said in an exchange filing late on Thursday.
For this, a meeting of the committee of directors is scheduled for 13 March, it said.
“The company is seeking approvals in the usual course of business. Any funds raised under such approvals, if granted, are to be used for routine treasury activities including refinancing of debt and spectrum liabilities,” a spokesperson for Bharti Airtel said in a statement on 9 March.
This is expected to boost the company’s funding plans to take on competition from Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
Firms in the debt-laden telecom sector witnessed a double whammy after the entry of Jio brought tariffs to rock-bottom levels and hit revenue streams of other operators.
In February, Airtel had said the unit managing its Africa operations is considering a potential initial public offering. It has also announced several measures to reduce debt to be in a stronger position to combat competition from Reliance Jio.
Airtel recently announced that Singapore Telecommunications Ltd will indirectly raise its stake in it by investing Rs2,649 crore in Bharti Telecom Ltd, the promoter firm, through a preferential allotment of shares. The money will be used to reduce debt.
In December, Airtel had said that it, along with another group entity, will sell a combined 20% in its DTH arm Bharti Telemedia Ltd to private equity firm Warburg Pincus for $350 million.
Airtel last year also said it may sell a controlling stake in tower arm Bharti Infratel Ltd. Bharti Airtel and its wholly-owned arms own 53.51% in the tower firm at present.
Meanwhile, its rival Idea Cellular Ltd too raised funds to build a war chest for the battle in the telecom sector.
The promoters of Idea—Birla TMT, Elaine Investments, Oriana Investments—have already invested Rs3,250 crore to strengthen its balance sheet amid intense competition and before a planned merger with Vodafone India Ltd. Following this equity infusion by Idea’s promoters, their stake in India’s third largest telecom operator will rise to 47.2% from 42.4% now. Idea Cellular has also raised Rs3,500 crore by way of a qualified institutional placement, or QIP, last month.
On Friday, shares of Bharti Airtel rose 0.19%, or Rs0.75, to Rs 401.95 apiece on the BSE while the benchmark Sensex fell 0.13%, or 44.43 points, to end the day at 33,307.14 points.
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