Indian telco Bharti Airtel has sold 10 percent of its tower unit Infratel $952 million to a consortium of investors in a bid to reduce its debt pile. The investors are led by private equity firm KKR and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
There were rumors circulating that the buyers wanted to acquire a “significant” stake in Infratel during October 2016 after Airtel’s board went forward with plans to sell off a proportion of the unit. New reports emerged in early March this year that the company had dropped plans to sell a controlling stake in the unit in favor of disposing around 22 percent.
Bharti Airtel now owns 61.7 percent of Infratel after selling to the investors. A stock exchange filing provided evidence that Bharti Airtel plans to use the funds from the sale to pay off debt.
“This investment by a consortium of marquee, long-term investors underlines the confidence of the global investors in India’s growth story and the government’s Digital India initiative in particular,” said Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal. “It further reinforces the positive outlook for the telecom infrastructure sector.”
It seems Bahrti Airtel has followed the footsteps of its rival Reliance Communications which cleared a deal with the Competition Commission of India to sell a 51 percent stake in its tower business to Canadian investment company Brookfield Group.