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Airtel considers Africa IPO and stake sale in Bharti Infratel-Indus entity to pare debt

May 10, 2018

In a bid to pare some of its $4.6 billion net debt, Bharti Airtel is looking at options like listing its African unit and potentially selling some stake in its tower business, over the next three years.

Airtel plans to raise as much as $1.5 billion by listing about 25 per cent equity in its African unit by early 2019 in either London or South Africa. The parent will also look to sell part of its stake in the $14.6 billion tower giant after Bharti Infratel merges with Indus Towers.

These two deals will help Airtel improve its balance sheet.

Bankers for the listing of Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit will be appointed by September 2018. The unit will carry about $2.3 billion of debt, pushing its enterprise value to $8.3 billion.

Also, Bharti Airtel will engage with investors to evaluate a strategic stake sale once the merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus is complete. It will own up to 37.2 per cent in the new entity that will control more than 163,000 towers across India.

Earlier, Airtel sold about 8,300 towers in seven African countries for about $1.7 billion in 2015, followed by the sale of its Tanzanian tower business for $179 million in 2016. During the same year, Bharti Airtel also sold its Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone units for about $1 billion.


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