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Bharti Airtel to cut direct stake in Infratel by 32%

Airtel will own an 18.3 per cent stake in Infratel after the transfer.

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MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel, the telecom service provider has recently said in an exchange filing that it will lower its stake in Bharti Infratel by selling around 32 per cent stake to Nettle Infrastructure Investments by 18 March.

Airtel will own 18.3 per cent stake in Infratel after the transfer, down from its current stake of 50.33 per cent.

The company said, “The Board of Directors of Bharti Airtel Limited, in order to explore a potential monetization of stake in Bharti Infratel Limited (‘Infratel’) in the future, approved sale transfer of up to 32 per cent of Infratel to its wholly-owned subsidiary-Nettle Infrastructure Investments Limited (‘Nettle’)-in its meeting held on December 20, 2018.”

The shares of Bharti Airtel surged 6 per cent on the BSE on Tuesday and closed at Rs 350.80 a piece, up 5.12 per cent from the previous day’s closing figure.

Nettle Infrastructure has a 3.2 per cent stake in Infratel. After the transaction, its stake would rise to 35.2 per cent, it said. The price of shares for the deal would be at or around the market price prevailing on the date of acquisition. According to the reports, sector analysts said this transfer of shares would eventually lead to sale of the stake to a third party and help Bharti Airtel raise much-needed funds. Airtel, and the other player, Vodafone Idea, are facing pressure on their financials since the entry of Reliance Jio in late 2016. 

Bharti Infratel shares fell as much as 3.4 per cent to Rs 309.

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