Bharti Airtel Approves Raising Up to 75 Billion Rupees Via Debt
(Bloomberg) -- Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s board approved raising as much as 75 billion rupees ($1 billion) as India’s second-largest wireless operator looks to build a war chest for an airwaves auction.
The carrier, headed by billionaire Sunil Mittal, has reviewed its financing strategies including maturities and will issue securities including bonds as and when deemed appropriate, according to an exchange filing. The money will be raised in one or more tranches, it said in the filing.
The wireless operator that posted a surprise return to profit in the latest quarter needs to bolster its balance sheet to claw back market share from its biggest rival and India’s top operator, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. It’ll also need to stock up funds to win airwaves at a local spectrum auction in March and roll out 5G services nationwide once it receives government approvals.
While Bharti has been adding users mostly at the expense of its smaller rival, Vodafone Idea Ltd. and seeing improving revenue, it still needs to beef up its finances. Besides the capital expenditure needed to grow, it also has to pay 439.8 billion rupees in back dues to the government. The court allowed Indian operators, including Bharti, to stagger this payout over 10 years.
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