Airtel to maintain controlling stake in tower arm

telecomasia.net

India's Bharti Airtel has called off plans to sell a controlling stake in its infrastructure division Bharti Infratel, but still plans to sell or transfer a minority stake in the company.

The company's board decided  in a meeting held this week not to sell a controlling stake in the division for now, the Economic Times reported.

Instead the company plans to sell or transfer up to 400 million shares in Infratel to either wholly-owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments, any other potential investors or both.

After the transfer Airtel will hold a 50.33% stake in Infratel while Nettle or the new investors will hold 21.63%.

Bharti Infratel's portfolio covers around 90,250 towers, the report states. These include the company's own towers and its share of the assets of independent tower company Indus Towers, which was jointly established in 2007 by Infratel and other Bharti Group members, as well as Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

The division reported a 25% increase in net profit to 6.2 billion rupees ($94.5 million) for the December quarter, which compares to a 50% decline in profit for Bharti Airtel.

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