Bharti Airtel to raise US$2.9bn via rights issue to build a war chest

Bharti Airtel to raise US$2.9bn via rights issue to build a war chest

Indian wireless carrier Bharti Airtel announced it plans to raise INR 210 billion ($2.86 billion) via a sale of shares to existing shareholders as it builds a war chest to prepare for the launch of 5G services.

The Telecom major said in a stock exchange filing that its board has approved the fundraising, which will be via rights issue at ₹535 per share of fully paid-up equity share (including a premium of ₹530/- per equity share).

Terms of payment of Issue Price will be 25% on application and balance in two more additional calls within an overall time horizon of 36 months.

Bharti founder-chairman Sunil Mittal and others in the founder group will also participate in the share purchase, the company said in a statement. Promoter holding in the company stands at about 55.8%, while public holds 44.09%.

The company said that shareholders would be eligible to buy one share for every 14 shares they hold in the telecom firm.

The telco board also constituted a 'special committee of directors to decide the other terms and conditions of the issue including issue period and the record date.

The fund raising move is expected to give more firepower to Airtel, as the company takes on rivals in the fiercely competitive Indian telecom market that is now gearing up for 5G. The funds are also expected to help Airtel add a healthy war chest even as it looks to cut down its mammoth debt.

With more than 352 million subscribers, Airtel is India's second-biggest carrier by users after Jio.

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