Singaporean telecom provider Singtel said it plans to invest INR 26.5 billion ($413 million) to increase its share in Indian telecom group Bharti Telecom, the holding company of Bharti Airtel, by 0.9 percentage points to 39.5%. The move will be subject to approval by Bharti Telecom’s shareholders, with completion expected by March 2018.
“Singtel’s wholly-owned subsidiary Singtel International Investments will subscribe to new shares in Bharti Telecom under a proposed preferential allotment,” Singtel announced in a statement on 5 February. “Singtel International Investments will be allotted up to 85,450,000 new equity shares in Bharti Telecom at an issue price of INR 310 per equity share.”
Airtel is India’s largest telecommunications company with operations in 16 countries across South Asia and Africa and a customer base of over 390 million. Singtel first acquired a stake in the company in 2000. If Singtel’s investment is approved by Bharti Telecom’s shareholders, the investment will increase Singtel’s share to 39.5%.
Singtel also holds investments in Australian telecom operator Optus, as well as Telkomsel in Indonesia, Globe Telecom in the Philippines and AIS in Thailand.
“This is a good opportunity for us to deepen our strategic partnership with Airtel,” said Singtel International CEO Arthur Lang. “While there are currently headwinds in India, we take a long-term view of our investment in Airtel which continues to be a strong market leader in a region with rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and mobile data adoption.”