Bharti Infratel opens IPO

Bharti Infratel, the tower subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel, opened its IPO to the public yesterday eyeing up to $832 million from investors.

The IPO is India’s second largest in two years and is expected to test the strength of interest from foreign investors in the country.

Infratel received commitments of around $120 million of stock on Monday from 18 cornerstone investors at an average price of $4.20 per share. These included US money management companies Wellington Management Company and Alliance Bernstein LP.

The National Stock Exchange of India said that 15% of shares had been subscribed for yesterday, although investors often wait until the final day of Indian IPOs to make their applications.

Bharti Airtel is expected to receive $600 to $650 million from the flotation; an amount Fitch Ratings said was unlikely to affect the company’s BBB-negative rating.

Infratel’s assets include over 34,000 telecoms towers and a 42% stake in Indus Towers, a JV with Vodafone India and Aditya Birla Telecom, offering passive infrastructure services to telecoms service providers.

Some of the funds from the sale are expected to be used to deploy 4,813 new towers and upgrade existing infrastructure.

The IPO’s joint global coordinators and bookrunners are Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and UBS. Bookrunning lead managers for the deal are Barclays, Deutsche Bank, ENAM Securities, HSBC and Kotak Mahindra Capital.

The offering closes on Friday 14 December.

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