Bharti board gives nod to raise upto $1 billion

James Marshall
March 13, 2018

Bharti Airtel on Monday approved plans to raise up to Rs 16,500 crore through a mix of privately placed non-convertible debentures (NCDs) and a foreign currency bonds float to refinance debt and manage liabilities towards spectrum purchase.

The country's biggest telecom company has been facing stiff competition from Reliance Jio that began services in September 2016.

"National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has sanctioned the scheme of amalgamation between Telenor (India) Communications and Bharti Airtel and their respective shareholders and creditors under Sections 230 to 232 of the Companies Act, 2013, company said in release".

The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company further said any funds raised from the issuance of debt securities shall be used for routine treasury activities including refinancing of existing debt and spectrum liabilities.

During the third quarter ended December 31, 2017, Bharti Airtel had a consolidated net debt of Rs 91,714 crore compared with Rs 91,480 crore in the preceding quarter.

Earlier, Bharti Airtel raised funds from its tower subsidiary Bharti Infratel. It has raised almost Rs 12,089 crore through multiple tiny stake dilutions in its tower arm.

In December past year, U.S. 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.

Shares of Bharti Airtel today closed 0.19 per cent higher at Rs 401.95 apiece on BSE.

Bharti Airtel, the largest telecom player, has also been impacted by the onslaught of competition where the industry saw dirt cheap tariffs with voice calls free for lifetime. The fund raising exercise is likely to be conducted over a period of time. However, analysts said this will bring in only a short-term relief to the industry reeling under financial stress.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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