vodafone:  Voda may sell stake in tower co to support struggling Vi - Times of India

vodafone: Voda may sell stake in tower co to support struggling Vi – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Looking to raise resources to fund the revival of beleaguered Vodafone Idea (Vi), British telecom giant Vodafone on Wednesday said it plans to sell around a quarter of its 28. 1% equity in tower infrastructure company Indus Towers, while looking at a complete exit in the future.
The company said it will offload 7. 1% equity and is looking to sell around 2. 4% of this through a block deal. For the remaining 4. 7%, it is believed that Vodafone is in talks with Bharti Airtel, the largest shareholder in Indus (with 42% equity), which is expected to fetch about Rs 3,300 crore. However, the companies did not confirm any such talks.
In a stock exchange communication in London, the British telecom company said it had launched a placing of 63. 6 million primary shares in Indus through an accelerated book-build offering. It added that this represents 2. 4% of Indus’s outstanding share capital. “Vodafone is also in advanced discussions with one of the largest shareholders in Indus for the purchase of up to 127. 1 million Indus shares from Vodafone, or 4. 7% of Indus’s outstanding share capital, which represents the remaining balance of primary shares,” it said. It said the terms of a potential agreement are currently being discussed and there can be no certainty that the sale will proceed.
“Should the sale be completed, Vodafone would retain 567. 2 million shares in Indus, or a 21% shareholding,” it said, adding that it is in discussions with “several interested parties” for potential sale of remaining shares. “A further announcement will be made as soon as practicable if any further ag-reements are reached. ”
Indus’s portfolio of over 1. 8 lakh towers makes it the largest tower infrastructure provider in the country, with a presence in all 22 telecom circles. Indus Towers caters to all wireless telecommunication service providers in India.
Vodafone said that along with its Indian partner Aditya Birla Group, the companies are committed to support Vi in its efforts to strengthen its balance sheet.
“The first step in this process included the conversion of $2. 1 billion of AGR and spectrum interest into equity, which will make the Indian government the largest shareholder of Vi. Vodafone and ABG intend to contribute towards an issue of equity shares by Vi (a ‘capital raise’) once the terms of such a capital raise have been evaluated and decided on by the board of directors of Vi. ”


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