Singtel to sell Bharti Airtel shares for $1.6bn

Singtel to sell Bharti Airtel shares for $1.6bn

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Singtel has announced it will sell a 3.3% stake in India’s Bharti Airtel to Bharti Telecom limited for US$1.61 billion.

Singtel, the largest operator in Southeast Asia, said its units Pastel Ltd and Viridian Ltd would sell 198 million shares.

After the sale, Singtel’s stake in Bharti Airtel will decrease to 29.7%.

The sale is expected to be completed before November 23, 2022 and will allow Singtel to focus primarily on its 5G operations.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce its debt and fund 5G expenditure in the region, it added.

The company is also looking for new growth engines and has been simplifying its portfolio. It is reportedly considering options for disposing of an advertising platform, including selling Trastwave Holdings, a cyber security firm and selling a stake in some of its fibre assets.

Airtel has been raising money to fund its own 5G launch. Earlier this month, the telco awarded contracts to Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung for the rollout.

Bharti Airtel won US$5.4 billion worth of spectrum at the Indian spectrum auction covering the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands.