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Bharti Airtel yet to decide on tower unit IPO
TT Correspondent |  |  02 Sep 2011

Country''s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel today said it has not yet decided on the possible initial public offering (IPO) of its telecom tower unit -- Bharti Infratel.

"We always view opportunities, but at this moment, there is no decision,"Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO Sunil Mittal told  media here.

According to sources, Bharti Infratel is planning an IPO to raise at least USD 500 million later this year.

According to reports, the proposed IPO, partly to provide an exit to shareholders, is likely to value the company at about USD 10 billion, 20 per cent lower than the valuation it had in February 2008, when US-based PE firm Kohlberg Kravis&Roberts (KKR) picked a 2 per cent stake in it for USD 250 million.

Since the company had raised USD 1.25 billion in 2007-08 from PE firms, it needs to give them an exit option.

Bharti Infratel has more than 30,000 towers under operations. The company also holds 42 per cent stake in joint venture tower company Indus Towers, which has over 1.10 lakh towers.

Besides, asked if the company wis looking at exiting its mobile value-added services business Comviva, Mittal said,"We are looking at all decisions but as of now, we are not actively engaged with anyone."

Investors in Comviva include Bharti, WestBridge Capital, Sequoia Capital India and Cisco Systems.

Talking about Bharti Airtel's Africa business, Mittal said,"Things are settling down in Africa and we are reporting strong revenues".

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02 Sep 2011(IST)  
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