Airtel agrees to offload stake in Bharti Infratel for $400m

08 August 2017 | James Pearce


Bharti Airtel is planning to sell off part of its stake in towerco Bharti Infratel, raising up to Rs 2,552 crore ($400 million).

The Indian telco has agreed to offload a 3.7% stake in the tower company as it looks to alleviate around Rs 87,840 crore ($13.8 billion) in debt through subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure. 

“Bharti Airtel will primarily use the proceeds from this sale to reduce its debt,” the company said in a statement. “Following the closure of this transaction, Bharti Airtel and its wholly owned subsidiaries together have an equity holding of 58 per cent in Bharti Infratel.”

The sale comes just months after Bharti sold around 11.32% of the towerco to Nettle, in a deal worth around 6,806 crore. It also offloaded a 10.3% stake to a consortium of US private equity firm KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in March of this year, worth around Rs 6,193.9 crore ($952.7 million).

It follows an evaluation carried out by a committee of directors that the board launched in October of last year. Airtel was considering options to monetise its tower company.

In 2012, it opened Infratel up to an IPO, and has since been rumoured with further sales. It remains to be seen what Bharti Airtel will do now that it has transferred a significant stake over to Nettle Infra.