Last month, Singtel had announced plans to raise its stake in Bharti Airtel by investing Rs 2,649 crore in the telco's holding company, Bharti Telecom, through a preferential share issue, proceeds of which would be used to cut debt.
At the meeting, the board also approved the transfer of 19 per cent equity stake in its direct-to-home (DTH) subsidiary Bharti Telemedia, which provides DTH services under the Airtel Digital TV brand, to Nettle Infrastructure Investments, a subsidiary company. The fundraising is to conduct treasury operations including refinancing of debt and spectrum liabilities. As on December 31, 2017, the company's consolidated net debt stood at Rs 91,714 crore. The board of directors at Airtel in its meeting held today approved the NCDs issuance of Rs 10,000 crore along with the issuance of foreign currency bonds up to a limit of $1 billion, which comes to Rs 6,500 crore.
Earlier, Airtel had pared stake in tower arm Bharti Infratel.
Back in December previous year, the Bharti group had announced plans to sell a fifth of its DTH arm to an affiliate of global private equity firm Warburg Pincus, for around Rs 2,258 crore ($350 million), with most of the funds being consumed by Bharti Airtel to fight mounting competition from Reliance Jio.
One of the reasons Airtel cited for seeking fresh fundraising approval was that the nod obtained from shareholders earlier for the issuance of NCDs up to Rs 10,000 crore is valid only until March 13, 2018.
According to an announcement, BTL is a promoter company of Bharti Airtel Limited (BAL), a company whose shares are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange Limited (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE).
Meanwhile, rival Idea Cellular Ltd too has raised funds to build a war chest for the battle in the telecom sector.
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