Bharti Airtel reduces stake in tower company and raises $400m

Bharti Airtel has carried out its promise to sell $400 million worth of shares in its tower company, Bharti Infratel.

The mobile operator sold 83 million shares in the company this morning, reducing its consolidated debt by 3.6%. It increased the number of shares it was planning to sell by 25%, it added.

According to details issued by Bharti Airtel, the company sold the shares through its own holding company, Nettle Infrastructure Investments, which had a 7.7% stake in Bharti Infratel. The Bharti Airtel group separately owns 50.3% of Bharti Infratel.

Bharti Airtel has consistently said that it plans to reduce its stake in Bharti Infratel. In 2014 it said Bharti Infratel wanted to buy Aircel and Vodafone India’s towers, but this week Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – which are merging – said they were selling their towers to ATC of the US for $1.2 billion.

Bharti Airtel did not disclose today’s purchasers, except to say that they were global investors, fund managers and long-term funds.

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