Airtel to raise Rs16,500 crore for refinancing debt, spectrum payment

Bharti Airtel

The country's largest telecom operator on Monday said it has received approval from the board to raise up to Rs 10,000 crore through the issue of non-convertible debentures and up to $1 billion through foreign currency bonds.

The board approved the issue of foreign currency bonds of up to $1 billion (Rs 6,482 crore) and sought fresh shareholder approval for issuance of non-convertible debentures of up to Rs 10,000 crore on a private-placement basis, the company said in a release to the BSE. The development assumes importance in the wake of intense competition in the telecom sector triggered by the entry of a new player Reliance Jio.

According to a Mumbai-based analyst, the borrowing does not fundamentally change anything for Bharti Airtel, and the company is merely refinancing debt. "Any funds if raised from the issuance of such debt securities would be used for routine treasury activities including refinancing of existing debt and spectrum liabilities", the company said.

Kolkata: Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) has concluded its Rs 2,649 crore investment in Bharti Telecom, taking its total stake (including affiliates) in the holding company of Bharti Airtel to 48.90% from earlier 47.17%.

Shares of the company jumped 4.68 per cent to end at Rs 420.75 on BSE.

In December previous year, USA private equity giant Warburg Pincus acquired a 20 per cent stake in Bharti Telemedia Ltd, the DTH arm of Airtel, for around Rs 2,310 crore.

The company, which is already mulling an initial public offering for the African unit, has also taken several steps as part of its debt-reduction spree. In December 2017, Bharti Airtel had agreed to sell 20 per cent equity stake in Bharti Telemedia to Warburg Pincus for approximately $350 million.

Earlier, Airtel had pared stake in tower arm Bharti Infratel.

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