SingTel applies to buy out Indian unit

Dylan Bushell-Embling
17 Oct 2013
Daily News

SingTel has become the first non-Indian company to apply to acquire a 100% stake in an Indian operator under new relaxed foreign direct investment rules, pipping Vodafone and others to the post.

SingTel has submitted an application to India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to buy out its Indian partners in SingTel Global (India), according to the Economic Times, which received a copy of the submission.

The Indian entity has licenses to provide long-distance national and international telephony services in the nation.

It is 74% owned by SingTel – the maximum previously allowed under foreign ownership restrictions on the telecom sector - 9.9% owned by Bharti Airtel's holding company Bharti Enterprises and 16.01% by Leela India.

The application reportedly does not discuss the size of the proposed acquisition or the valuation of SingTel Global India.

SingTel is the largest foreign shareholder in Bharti Airtel, with a roughly 32% stake.

The Indian government recently removed the 74% ownership cap, so long as overseas investors receive approval from the FIPB for transactions that will raise foreign ownership above 49%.

Vodafone is widely expected to spend more than $2 billion to buy full ownership of Vodafone India, but has not yet applied to the FIPB.

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