Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has paid INR88.15 billion (USD1.16 billion) to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards the prepayment of deferred liabilities relating to the acquisition of spectrum in 2015. The prepayment is for instalments that were due in the 2027 and 2028 financial years. Airtel notes that the liabilities carried an interest rate of 10% and were cleared through ‘a combination of strong free cash generated by business, equity proceeds and significantly lower cost debt of similar tenor’.
In a separate development, meanwhile, Airtel is set to acquire a 4.7% interest in passive infrastructure firm Indus Towers from the UK’s Vodafone Group for INR23.88 billion. The transaction will be executed at a price of INR187.88 per share. The deal had been agreed in February this year on the condition that the proceeds would be invested in Vodafone Idea (Vi) and go towards clearing the latter’s dues towards Indus.
For its part, Vi’s shareholders have approved a proposal to raise INR145 billion through the issue of equity shares to promoter groups Vodafone and Aditya Birla Group (for a total of INR45 billion) and the sale of equity or via a mixture of ADR American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) and foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) – for the remaining INR100 billion. Under the fundraising programme, Vodafone will infuse up to INR33.75 billion in Vi whilst Aditya Birla will invest around INR11.25 billion.