Airtel may sell 5% stake in Bharti Infratel

21 Apr 2016

India's Bharti Airtel is reportedly considering selling a 5% stake in tower subsidiary Bharti Infratel to help pay down debt.

The operator is considering a block trade on the open market for the stake in Bharti Infratel, an unnamed source told the Economic Times.

At the current market capitalization of the publicly-listed Bharti Infratel, a 5% stake could be worth nearly 37 billion rupees ($558.3 million).

Airtel's consolidated net debt at the end of last year was around 810 billion rupees ($11.91 billion), and this was before the operator's recent major spectrum purchases.

Airtel took Bharti Infratel public in 2012 and has been slowly reducing its stake ever since. Airtel currently owns around a 71.7% stake in the tower company.

Infratel has been performing well on the exchange in the past year despite turbulent markets, and reported a 12% growth in net profit for the December quarter.

The report cites another source stating that Airtel has appointed UBS to oversee the sale, and that UBS is seeking interest from both domestic and international investors.

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