Airtel To Raise Rs 16500 Crore For Spectrum Payment, Refinancing Debt

Airtel will now approach shareholders for final approval of the propose raising of debt. Image Courtesy Twitter

Companies in the debt-laden telecom sector witnessed a double whammy after the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd brought tariffs to rock-bottom levels and hit revenue streams of other operators.

The board approved the issue of foreign currency bonds of up to $1 billion (Rs 6,482 crore) and sought fresh shareholder approval for issuance of non-convertible debentures of up to Rs 10,000 crore on a private-placement basis, the company said in a release to the BSE. During the day, it soared 5.68 per cent to Rs 424.80.

The company will now approach shareholders for final approval of the proposed funds. "Nothing changes. Also, interest rates are rising overall; so, maybe they want to raise funds right now before cost of borrowing goes up further", this analyst said on the condition of anonymity. "The latest net asset value of each Subscription Share, based on BTL's Indian GAAP standalone management accounts as of 31 December 2017 was approximately INR23.8 and accordingly, the aggregate net asset value of the Subscription Shares is approximately $40.7m (INR2b)". Shares of Bharti Airtel were trading 4.12% up at Rs418.50 on BSE.

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Back in December previous year, the Bharti group had announced plans to sell a fifth of its DTH arm to an affiliate of global private equity firm Warburg Pincus, for around Rs 2,258 crore ($350 million), with most of the funds being consumed by Bharti Airtel to fight mounting competition from Reliance Jio.

Last month, Bharti Airtel had said it would transfer its 25 % stake in Bharti Telemedia to wholly owned arm Nettle Infrastructure Investments.

The promoters of Idea Cellular Ltd - Birla TMT, Elaine Investments, Oriana Investments - have already invested Rs 3,250 crore to strengthen its balance sheet amid intense competition and before a planned merger with Vodafone India Ltd.

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