Bharti may sell shares to SingTel: report

Bharti may sell shares to SingTel: report

Mumbai: India’s largest mobile services operator Bharti Airtel may sell shares to Singapore Telecommunications to partly fund its purchase of Zain’s African assets and avoid taking on too much debt, the Economic Times newspaper said on Friday.

A share sale to SingTel, which owns about 30% in the Indian mobile services firm, could help chairman Sunil Mittal avoid an embarassment if investors shun a rights issue, the report said.

A spokesman for Bharti told the paper the company had no comments to make other than what had already been said.

“It is premature to talk about funding as the transaction is subject to ongoing discussions, due diligence and customary regulatory approvals," an official for SingTel told the paper in an email.

“As a strategic investor we have significant governance and shareholder rights and we are actively involved in key decisions, including major investments," the report quoted the SingTel official as saying.

Bharti Airtel is in exclusive talks to buy most of the African assets of Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain for $9 billion.