The upturn in Bharti Airtel’s financial fortunes continues, with a major sale netting it close to $46 million.
The company’s Mauritius-based arm, Network i2i, has sold its 2.3 per cent stake in Helios Towers for about $45.86 million. Helios Towers describes itself as a leading telecom tower infrastructure company enabling mobile operators to roll out and enhance coverage in high-growth markets. It has a strong presence in a number of African countries.
While Bharti Airtel has not confirmed its plans, speculation in the Indian press is that the proceeds of the sale will be used to cut Airtel’s debt, which press reports put at approximately $11.65 billion (excluding lease obligations) in the quarter ending in March.
As one of the two operators hardest hit by AGR dues, alongside Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel has done a number of deals that will help to reduce its exposure. It has made it clear, however, that is not keen to pay its outstanding debt all at once, hoping instead for a 20-year payback period.
Bharti Airtel raised about $1.15 billion last month when a 2.75 per cent stake in the operator was sold to multiple global investors. Other deals in recent months include a perpetual bonds issue, which has raised $250 million, and the raising of $750 million through subordinated perpetual security bonds issued by Network i2i Limited.