Bharti Airtel has sold 67.53 million shares, about 3.65 percent stake, in its tower firm Bharti Infratel for 2570 crore. The company sold part of Bharti Infratel equity held through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Ltd. through a secondary share sale in the stock market, both at the BSE and the NSE.
The company will use the amount realized from the transaction to lower its debt. The consolidated net debt had decreased to 87,840 crore at the end of June 2017, from 91,400 crore in the previous quarter. The telecom major started looking at options to monetize the stake held in Bharti Infratel in October 2016. The consolidated tower base of Bharti Infratel, including its share in Indus Towers, stood at 90,255 towers at the end of 2016.
In mid-March, Bharti Airtel decided that it would not sell a controlling stake in Bharti Infratel and look at monetizing only 21.63 percent share out of the 71.96 percent stake it held in Bharti Infratel at that time. By the end of fiscal year 2016–2017, the company sold 10.3 percent stake in its mobile tower arm to a consortium of KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for 6193.9 crore.
Around the same time, it also transferred 11.32 percent stake, valued at about 6806 crore, in Bharti Infratel to its wholly owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure.
Bharti Airtel's stake in Bharti Infratel now stands at about 58 percent.