Bharti Airtel holds a majority stake in Bharti Infratel (Mint file)
Bharti Airtel holds a majority stake in Bharti Infratel (Mint file)

Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers merger to be completed next month

  • The two tower companies had in April last year agreed to merge their businesses to create the world’s largest tower company outside China
  • The combined entity will own more than 163,000 towers, second only to China Tower

New Delhi: The merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, which will create the world's second largest tower company, is expected to be completed by next month, Bharti Infratel Chairman Akhil Gupta told analysts at the post-earnings conference call on Thursday.

“For the merger process, we have received all permissions, including NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) approval. We only need Department of Telecommunications’ approval for enhancement of foreign direct investment limit. The merger should be completed by August," Gupta said.

The two tower companies had in April last year agreed to merge their businesses to create the world’s largest tower company outside China. The combined entity will own more than 163,000 towers, second only to China Tower. The merged company will be listed on the stock exchanges as Bharti Infratel is a publicly traded company. Its nearest rival in India will be ATC which has 78,000 towers.

Bharti Airtel holds a majority stake in Bharti Infratel.

The merger will help Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group, promoters of Indus Towers, to sell their stake, bring down debt and invest in their wireless operations in India, which has been facing the heat of a tariff war started with the entry of Reliance Jio in September 2016.

Bimal Dayal, chief executive officer, Indus Towers, and Hemant Ruia, chief financial officer, Indus Towers, will be appointed CEO and CFO, respectively, of the merged entity of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel.

Dayal, who had joined Indus Towers as its chief operating officer in 2010, will now be responsible for the combined business and will take forward integration of the two companies in preparation of the merger. He has previously worked with Ericsson and Qualcomm.

Prior to his role at Indus, Ruia worked as chief financial officer at Reliance Retail.

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