Airtel may sell 3% stake in Bharti Infratel
Mumbai: Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest wireless carrier, is considering selling about a 3% stake in its tower unit through an institutional share sale, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The New Delhi-based company could pare its holding in Bharti Infratel Ltd as soon as this month, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Bharti Airtel is weighing the sale to cut its net debt, one of the people said.
The shares are worth about Rs2,240 crore based on Tuesday’s closing price, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Competition has been intensifying in the world’s second-largest smartphone market, as the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd backed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani-prompted rivals to slash tariffs and consolidate. A planned combination of Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian unit with Idea Cellular Ltd will topple Airtel as the dominant mobile-phone operator in the nation.
No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will result in a transaction, the people said. A spokesman for Bharti Airtel declined to comment.
Bharti Airtel had Rs87,840 crore of net debt at the end of June, according to company filings. In March, a consortium of KKR & Co. and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) bought a 10.3% in its tower unit for Rs6,193 crore. Bloomberg
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