The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has given its approval to increasing the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in Bharti Airtel from 49 per cent to up to 100 per cent of paid up capital.
As per a regulatory filing, the aforesaid approval read together with the Reserve Bank of India’s approval dated July 3, 2014, granted to the company allows the foreign portfolio investors (FPls)/ foreign institutional investors (Flls) to invest up to 74 per cent of the paid-up capital subject to applicable laws.
The approval would enable Bharti Airtel to raise more funds from foreign investors to pay for statutory dues, network expansion and spectrum auction payments in case it bids for the same.
DoT’s approval to raise foreign investment levels comes after the combined holding of the promoter and promoter group in Airtel fell from 62.70 per cent to 58.98 per cent. This fall in the shareholding happened post the company raised $2 billion through a private share placement to investors, which included GIC, Fidelity, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Schroder, Warburg Pincus and Segantii Capita.
At present, foreign ownership in Airtel is 44.28 per cent, after the share placement.