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Bharti Airtel launches roadshows for euro bond sale

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 20:47

Mumbai: Country's largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel Wednesday launched an international roadshow for benchmark bond offering as part of its plan to raise nearly a billion dollars through euro bonds, according to merchant bankers.

This is the third bond sale by the company this year.

"Bharti Airtel launched investor road-shows for a benchmark Euro bond issue today. The roadshows are underway in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt," a merchant banker said.

Bharti could not be reached immediately for comments.

This is the third major bond sale by domestic companies after the May 24 tapering talk by the US Fed, which spiked interest rates in Western markets.

The company's arm Bharti Airtel International Netherlands is raising the money, which will be fully guaranteed by the parent company.

According to one i-banker, StanChart, Barclays, JP Morgan, UBS and BNP Paribas are the joint book-runners and lead-managers to the issue.

In March this year, the company had raised USD 1.5 billion in overseas debt in two tranches.
Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has assigned BBB- ratings to the proposed senior unsecured Euro notes.

Fitch Ratings has assigned Bharti Airtel International Netherlands' proposed notes an expected rating of 'BBB-. The notes will be unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Bharti Airtel, and are therefore rated at the same level as Bharti's foreign currency senior unsecured rating of 'BBB-', Fitch said in a statement issued from Singapore today.

So far this year, companies have mopped up over USD 14.25 billion in overseas debt, with the latest being the USD 500 million issuance by HDFC Bank in October and USD 750 million by ICICI Bank earlier this month.

"Bharti will use the entire notes proceeds to refinance its existing debt (which stood at USD 6.69 billion or debt-to-equity ratio of 2.18 as of the September quarter, making it one of the most indebted telecom companies in the country)," Fitch said.

It added that the terms and conditions of the proposed bond are identical to Bharti's existing guaranteed bond of USD1.5 billion due 2023.

The notes will rank 'pari passu' with issuer's existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness, it said.

Recent media reports said the company has plans to mop up USD 3-4 billion as it seeks to shore up its coffers in preparation for upcoming spectrum auctions in January.

First Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 20:47
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