Davos 2017: Sunil Mittal Says A Decision On Bharti Infratel Stake Sale Will Be Taken In A Month
Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said the group is ‘actively’ looking to deleverage its balance sheet, and is exploring options including divesting its stake in the telecom tower company Bharti Infratel Ltd.
Speaking to BloombergQuint’s Menaka Doshi on the sidelines of the 47th World Economic Forum at Davos, Mittal said that a committee has been constituted to look into this matter and that a decision will be taken within a month.
We have received offers, we don’t know whether we want to sell. We want to sell minority or we want to sell control. There is a committee which has been formed. It’s a committee of directors and I am not part of that. I want to be neutral on this one. The committee will go through the entire proposition of what is good and make a recommendation and then some of us will sit down and decide on the issue soon.Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
Mittal added that the group needs to take a call on whether it requires towers from a strategic point of view.
It is not core to this industry, but it is strategic to this industry. There is difference between core and strategic.Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
Rationalising Africa Business
Mittal admitted that Africa was “not as successful an experiment” as he’d hoped it would be. Bharti Airtel has sold its telecom business in two African nations, and Mittal the telecom major will take more initiatives to rationalise its business in the continent, even as he ruled out any plans to quit Africa.
We have taken a $1 billion out of sale of two countries, $2 billion out of towers. $3 billion has already come back, some more rationalisation may be possible.Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises
Mittal added that the rationalisation could be carried out via outright sale or mergers. Bharti earned revenues of around $3.3-3.4 billion and operating profit of $600 million from Africa in the last financial year.
The Bharti Enterprises chairman added that the company has no further global expansion plans in the foreseeable future and will focus its energies on India.