British telecoms group Vodafone is looking to offload its 5% stake in tower firm Indus Towers Ltd to Bharti Airtel, the telecom group said on Wednesday.

The company is in talks to sell its about 5% stake in Indus Towers, valued at over 3,300 crore, to Bharti Airtel, according to a PTI report.

The proceeds will be pumped into the Indian entity Vodafone Idea, the report further said. 

The development comes after a challenging period for Vodafone in India, where its local arm, Vodafone Idea, has faced intense competition and lost millions of wireless subscribers to Reliance’s Jio and Bharti Airtel .

Vodafone Idea’s troubles have been compounded by huge dues owed to the government, which is expected to own a 35.8% stake in the venture through a recent deal.

Indus Towers Limited, formerly Bharti Infratel Limited, provides passive telecom infrastructure. It deploys, owns and manages telecom towers and communication structures for various mobile operators. 

The firm’s portfolio of more than 1,84,748 telecom towers makes it one of the largest tower infrastructure providers in India with presence in all 22 telecom circles. 

Indus Towers caters to all wireless telecommunication service providers in the country.

Currently, Vodafone holds about 28% in Indus Towers.

Vodafone’s stake of 75.78 crore Indus shares was worth roughly 19,070 crore as of Indus’s Wednesday closing price on the National Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel had earlier said that it will raise $1 billion in debt, after it reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue on higher tariff rates.

Airtel said it would raise the amount, 75 billion, by issuing non-convertible debt securities, including debentures and bonds, but did not reveal how it would use the money.

India’s telecom sector has been benefiting from increased data usage as more people take to remote working due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


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