Bharti Airtel will raise up to Rs 16,500 crore by floating privately placed non-convertible debentures (NCDs) and a foreign currency bonds. In a meeting of its board, the company approved issuance of NCDs worth Rs 10,000 crore and foreign currency bonds up to a limit of US $1 billion or roughly Rs 6,500 crore. NCDs are debt papers that a company issues for a specified tenure where it pays a fixed interest on the investment.

The money raised will be used to refinance existing debt and spectrum liabilities, Airtel said. The telco plans to obtain fresh approval from stakeholders for issuing NCDs. Its previous approval for NCDs up to Rs 10,000 crore is valid for a year until March 13, 2018. This is the largest-ever fund-raise approved by Airtel’s Board of Directors in a single meeting, said Telecomtalk info.

Airtel is also raising Rs 2,649 crore from Singapore-based Singtel, which is buying new shares in Bharti Telecom Limited. 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 funds raised are to be used towards debt reduction.

As on December 31, 2017, the company’s consolidated net debt stood at Rs 917.14 billion higher than Rs 914.8 billion in the previous quarter. In the same period, its mobile Internet user base increased by around 5 million.