Airtel has sold more stake to Singtel (Singapore Telecommunications Limited) through its parent firm Bharti Telecom which runs Bharti Airtel and Airtel Africa. Airtel aims to use the funds to clear some debts and focus on growth in India.
The deal will see Singtel, through Singtel International Investments subscribe to new shares under a proposed preferential allotment subject to approval by Bharti Telecom’s shareholders, with completion expected by March 2018.
In a statement, Mr Arthur Lang, CEO Singtel International, said, “This is a good opportunity for us to deepen our strategic partnership with Airtel. While there are currently headwinds in India, we take a long-term view of our investment in Airtel which continues to be a strong market leader in a region with rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and mobile data adoption.”
Bharti Telecom is the holding company of Bharti Airtel (Airtel) and holds approximately 50.1% of the share capital of Airtel. According to the deal, Singtel International Investments will be allotted up to 85,450,000 new equity shares in Bharti Telecom at an issue price of INR310 per equity share. This will increase Singtel’s stake in Bharti Telecom by up to 1.7% for an aggregate consideration of approximately INR26.5 billion or S$555.6 million.
Through this allotment, Singtel’s economic interest in Airtel will increase by 0.9 percentage point to 39.5%.
Airtel is India’s largest telecommunications company with operations in 16 countries across South Asia and Africa and a customer base of over 390 million. It has been an associate of the Group since Singtel acquired a stake in 2000.