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Bharti Infratel IPO opens on Dec 11, aims to raise Rs 4,534 cr

Bharti Airtel's tower unit Bharti Infratel will launch next month its IPO to raise up to Rs 4,533.60 crore -- possibly the biggest public issue in two years after state-run Coal India's offer.

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel's tower unit Bharti Infratel will launch next month its IPO to raise up to Rs 4,533.60 crore -- possibly the biggest public issue in two years after state-run Coal India's offer.

The Sunil Bharti Mittel led-company said the Initial Public Offer (IPO) comprising 18.89 crore equity shares will open on December 11 for retail investors in a price band of Rs 210 to Rs 240 per share. The issue will close on December 14.

At the upper end of the price band, Bharti Infratel would raise about Rs 4,533.60 crore, while at the lower end it could end up with Rs 3,966.90 crore.

For anchor investors, the issue will open on December 10.

The proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund its expansion and future acquisitions, the company said.

"India is the only country where this industry has flourished as the business model is focussed on sharing and the prospects are good," Bharti Enterprises Deputy Group CEO and MD Akhil Gupta told reporters here Friday.

Asked if the cancellation of telecom licences by the Supreme Court was putting pressure on the tower industry, Gupta said: "Our industry does not necessarily thrive on too many number of operators, it thrives on healthy operators."

He added the reduction in number of operators has given a chance to the existing players who are left in the fray and have more healthy business to invest more money in the roll out.

"Therefore I think even from their point of view its a good time," Gupta said.

Bharti Infratel has more than 34,000 towers in operation, while it holds 42 percent stake in Indus Towers, which has over one lakh towers in India.

The proposed IPO will be one of the biggest after the state-run Coal India raised Rs 15,475 crore in October 2010.

Success of this IPO would be critical for the market, which has seen drying up of public offers due to subdued sentiment and slowing economy for over a year.

Asked how the company plans to use the proceeds from the IPO, Gupta said:
"There are many things which could be done... There could be opportunities of acquisitions of existing towers and others. There could also be global opportunities."

He, however, refused to comment on any particular international acquisition.

"... We will see as and when the opportunities arise. I have nothing in mind Friday... The only priority is that it should add value to the company," he added.

The issue, comprises a fresh issue of about 14.62 crore equity shares and an offer for sale of over 4.26 crore equity shares by certain shareholders.

However, Bharti Airtel, which owns about 86 percent of Bharti Infratel, is not participating in the share sale.

Bharti Airtel was trading at Rs 334.45 apiece at 1528 hours, up 1.03 percent from its previous close on the BSE.

The issue will constitute 10 percent of the post-issue paid up equity share capital of the company.

The joint book running lead managers to the issue are DSP Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan India, Standard Chartered Securities (India) and UBS Securities India.

The issue's lead managers are Barclays Securities (India), Deutsche Equities India, Enam

Securities, HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) and Kotak Mahindra Capital Company.

The co-book running lead managers to the issue are BNP Paribas, DBS Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Securities.

On the public offer of Indus Towers, Gupta said there were no such plans as of now.

"Indus can, after a while, definitely think of an IPO but not right now... It would be some time away but there is no prohibition for Indus to think of it, whether it will actually go, not go, the three partners will decide."

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone each own 42 percent stake in Indus Towers, while Idea Cellular owns 16 percent.

Bharti Infratel is the first tower company to come out with an IPO.

Other players in the tower business include Anil Ambani -led Reliance Infratel and Viom Networks ? a joint venture between Tata Teleservices and Kolkata-based Quippo Infrastructure.

Reliance Infratel had also planned to come out with a public offer, which would have raised about Rs 6,000 crore. However, the plan was later scrapped.


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