Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said it has sold 6.75 crore shares, about 3.65 per cent stake, in its tower firm Infratel for Rs 2,570 crore. The company sold part of Bharti Infratel equity held through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Limited through a secondary share sale in the stock market, both at BSE and NSE. "The sale was for a total consideration of over Rs 2,570 crore and was executed at a price of Rs 380.6 per share, representing a discount of 4 per cent to the previous day's closing price," Bharti Airtel said in a statement. Bharti Airtel will use the amount realised from the transaction to lower its debt.
The consolidated net debt has decreased to Rs 87,840 crore at the end of June 2017 from Rs 91,400 crore in the previous quarter. The telecom major started looking at option to monetise stake held in Bharti Infratel in October 2016. The consolidated tower base of Bharti Infratel, including its share in Indus Towers, stood at 90,255 towers at the end of 2016. In mid-March, Airtel decided that it will not sell controlling stake in Bharti Infratel and look at monetising only 21.63 per cent share out of 71.96 per cent stake it held in Bharti Infratel at that time. By the end of fiscal year 2016-17, the company sold 10.3 per cent stake in its mobile tower arm to a consortium of KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for Rs 6,193.9 crore. Around same time, it also transferred 11.32 per cent stake, valued at around Rs 6,806 crore, in Bharti Infratel to its wholly-owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure. Following the latest transaction, Bharti Airtel stake in Infratel now stands around 58 per cent which includes shares held through Nettle Infrastructure. Shares of Bharti Infratel closed at Rs 382.05, down by 3.98 per cent compared to previous close, at the BSE. Bharti Airtel, however, closed marginally up at Rs 418 even as the benchmark BSE sensex fell by 259 points or 0.80 per cent.
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