Vodafone draws a line under Indian experiment with $1.2bn towers sale

Nov 14, 2017, 00:43
Vodafone draws a line under Indian experiment with $1.2bn towers sale

According to media reports, the company is planning to beef up its tower assets before selling a controlling stake in the business to a consortium led by private equity firm KKR & Co.

"The standalone tower business of Idea and Vodafone India are pan India passive telecommunication infrastructure business, comprising combined portfolio of approximately 20,000 towers with combined tenancy ratio of 1.65x as of 30th June 2017", it said in filing with stock exchanges.

The merger is aimed at dominating a market which billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has disrupted with free voice calls and low data prices.

"We expect the addition of these two high quality portfolios to be highly complementary to our existing assets and to contribute to long-term leasing growth as India's leading mobile operators accelerate their 4G network deployments", said Jim Taiclet, ATC's CEO.

In 2015, ATC agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Viom Networks Ltd for $1.2 billion.

The deal also comes as Idea seeks to pay down debt as it prepares to merge with Vodafone India to surpass Bharti Airtel Ltd.as the country's largest phone operator by subscribers.

Vodafone (LON:VOD) has inked a deal to sell its standalone tower business in India, the blue-chip telco has said. Idea would get 40 billion rupees from the deal, while Vodafone will get the remainder, the company said. The merger is expected to be completed in 2018.

Shares of Idea Cellular today fell almost 4 per cent after the company posted a loss of Rs 1,106.80 crore for the second quarter this fiscal.

Indus-the biggest tower company-is a three-way joint venture among Idea, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel, which also controls Bharti Infratel. The transaction is expected to take place during the first half of the calendar year 2018.

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