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Singtel to invest Rs 2649 crore in Bharti Telecom; stake increases to 48.9%

Singtel International Investments will invest Rs 2,649 crores in Bharti Telecom Limited, the promoter of Airtel, by subscribing to new shares under a proposed preferential allotment. Singtel is a Singaporean telecommunications company and this development marks its second investment in Airtel in less than two years.

This will increase Singtel’s stake in Bharti Telecom by up to 1.7% for an aggregate consideration of approximately Rs 26.5 billion. Singtel International Investments will be allotted up to 85.45 million new equity shares in Bharti Telecom at an issue price of Rs 310 per equity share. Singtel’s total stake (along with its affiliates) in Bharti Telecom will increase to 48.90% from 47.17%. Bharti Enterprises continues to hold over 50% stake in Bharti Telecom.

The allotment is expected to be finalised by March 2018, after shareholders’ approval of Bharti Telecom. The funds raised will be used towards debt reduction, Bharti Telecom said. Through this allotment, Singtel’s economic interest in Airtel will increase by 0.9 percentage point to 39.5%.

The investment comes within 23 months of Singtel’s participation in Bharti Telecom’s Right Issue of Rs. 2500 Crores, which was completed in February 2016. In August 2016, Singtel has signed an agreement to acquire 7.39% stake in Bharti Telecom Limited via Temasek Holdings.

The fresh round of investment highlights the confidence of Singtel in Airtel, and the increased attractiveness of the Indian telecoms sector following the recent consolidation, Bharti Airtel said in the statement.

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Airtel’s progress

Airtel operates in 17 countries across Asia and Africa and claims to have over 394 million customers across its operations at the end of December 2017.

In its latest earnings report, Airtel’s mobile Internet user base increased by around 5 million, to 70.8 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2017 (Q3 FY18). The telco continued to show recovery from the intense competition, after losing around 7.7 million mobile Internet users after the launch of Reliance Jio.

In December 2016, Airtel acquired a strategic stake in digital publishing company Juggernaut Books for an undisclosed amount.

In March that year, Airtel also announced its acquisition of Tikona Digital Network, and the completed in August, marking an increase in Airtel’s spectrum portfolio.

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