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Bharti Airtel to raise Rs 165 billion for refinancing debt and spectrum payment

March 12, 2018

In a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Bharti Airtel has stated that it has received approval from the board to raise up to Rs 165 billion for refinancing debt and paying for spectrum liabilities. The board of the company approved issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of up to Rs 100 billion on a private placement basis and issuance of foreign currency bonds up to a limit of $1 billion (Rs 64.82 billion) or equivalent in one or more tranches. Further, the NCDs of up to Rs 100 billion can be raised in tranches or a series at rates may be approved from time to time. The operator stated that any funds if raised from the issuance of aforesaid debt securities shall be used for routine treasury activities including refinancing of existing debt and spectrum liabilities. Airtel will now approach shareholders for final approval of the proposed raising of debt.

Over the past one year, Airtel has been raising funds by progressively reducing its stake in its listed tower unit, Bharti Infratel, to cut debt and free up cash and gird-up for competition in the 4G segment. It has raised nearly Rs 120.89 billion through multiple tiny stake dilutions in its tower arm. Recently, the operator stated that it may sell a much larger stake in Bharti Infratel to fund its plans, including bolstering of its 4G network. The operator and its wholly-owned subsidiaries own 53.51 per cent in the tower arm. Further, Bharti Airtel has recently boosted its capex guidance for 2018-19 to Rs 250 billion from an earlier amount of Rs 200 billion.


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