VIL to raise around Rs 250 billion through rights issue (India)

Vodafone Idea Limi­t­ed’s (VIL) board of directors has approved a plan to raise Rs 250 billion through fully or partly paid-up equity shares of the company and other convertible securities such as convertible debentures. As part of the plan­ned capital raising, promoter shareholders of the Vodafone Group will contribute around Rs 110 billion and promoter shareholders of the Aditya Birla Group will contribute up to Rs 72.5 billion through a ri­gh­ts issue. Further, the promoter shareholders have said that in case the rights issue is undersubscribed, every promoter shareholder will reserve the right to subscribe to part or whole of the unsubscribed portion.

Airtel secures $200 million investment for its African business

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has invested $200 million in Airtel Africa through a primary equity issuance in the company. This transaction does not involve the sale of shares by the existing shareholders. QIA’s investment in Airtel Africa follows the recent investment of $1.25 billion by six leading global investors in the company. The proceeds from the QIA will be used to reduce Airtel Africa’s existing debt.

RCOM to file for insolvency

Reliance Communications (RCOM) plans to file for insolvency. The move comes after RCOM’s asset sale to Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited failed to receive a no-objection certificate from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), with Jio refusing to submit an undertaking to the government to settle RCOM’s dues. RCOM will now file an application with the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) along with its units, Reliance Telecom Limited and Reliance Infratel Limited. The NCLT will then appoint an insolvency resolution professional and interested parties will be allowed to bid for RCOM’s spectrum, towers and land. The company’s current debt stands at Rs 380 billion, of which it owes Rs 198 billion and Rs 182 billion to local and foreign lenders respectively.

ITI receives SEBI approval for FPO

State-owned Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for floating a follow-on public offering (FPO). This move will help ITI meet the minimum 25 per cent public shareholding norm. The FPO includes a fresh issue of about 180 million equity shares. An additional issue of up to 5 per cent of the net issue will be reserved for the company’s employees. The proceeds will be used to fund the company’s working capital requirements and repay loans, as well as for general corporate purposes. The ITI FPO will be managed by Bank of Baroda Capital Markets, Karvy Investor Services and Punjab National Bank Investment Services.

RIL to buy additional stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and its group companies, including Jio Content Distribution and Jio Internet Distribution Holdings, have announced an open offer to acquire an additional 26 per cent stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited for Rs 14.89 billion. To this end, RIL has proposed to buy up to 460 million fully paid-up equity shares from public shareholders of Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited at a price of Rs 32.35 per equity share. In October 2018, RIL had acquired a majority stake in Hathway Cable and Datacom Limited for Rs 29.4 billion through a preferential issue.

State-run telecom operators complete merger proceedings (Mozambique)

Mozambique’s state-run telecom operators Telec­o­municacoes de Moca­m­bique and mCel have completed the­ir merger to create Mocambique Tele­com, or Tmcel. The go­ver­­­nment is hoping that the merger of its fixed line and wireless units will cut operating costs and promote converged fixed-mobile packages. Tmcel is Mozambique’s second largest mo­bile operator in terms of subscribers after Vodacom. It also do­m­i­­­nates the fixed line sector.

Link Africa to acquire VAST Networks (South Africa)

South Africa-based op­tic fibre infrastructure provider Link Africa is in talks with Naspers and Dimen­sion Data to acquire their joint venture, VAST Networks. The deal is reportedly valued at $33 million. VAST Networks is 51 per cent owned by Dimension Data, while the remaining stake is held by MultiChoice (owned by South Africa-based multinational media company Naspers).

Airtel offloads 9 per cent stake in Tanzania unit to government (Tanzania)

Bharti Airtel has decided to sell part of its stake in wireless operator Airtel Tanzania to the local government. Bharti Airtel’s stake will be reduced from 60 per cent to 51 per cent, with state ownership rising from 40 per cent to 49 per cent.

Government approves TOT-CAT merger (Thailand)

The State Enterprise Policy Committee of Thailand has app­ro­ved the merger of state-run telecom companies TOT Plc. and CAT Telecom. The merger is expected to be completed by June 2019, while business restructuring is expected to take more time. Renamed National Telecom Company, the merged entity will be fully owned by the government.