Airtel $1 billion bond issue over-subscribed by 9.5 times

Airtel $1 billion bond issue over-subscribed by 9.5 times New Delhi: Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said it has raised USD 1 billion through a bond sale in the overseas market that was over subscribed by more than 9 times, making it the largest ever bond issue by an Indian telecom player.

The 10-year unsecured notes had a coupon of 5.125 percent per annum and were launched by Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharti Airtel.

"It's wholly-owned subsidiary Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV has priced USD 1 billion 5.125 percent guaranteed senior notes due 2023," the company said in a statement.

The notes were nearly 9.5 times over-subscribed with an orderbook aggregating USD 9.5 billion from high quality investor accounts, it added.

According to the company, this is the "largest ever issuance from an Indian telecom company... And one of the largest orderbooks for a USD issuance out of Asia".

The company will use the net proceeds to primarily its existing debt.

As of the December quarter, Bharti had total debt of USD 13.6 billion and cash and equivalents of USD 1.9 billion as its African venture keeps bleeding.

Last Monday, Bharti launched roadshows in Asia, Europe and the US and had picked seven foreign banks for this unsecured senior bonds (or RegS bonds), which can be issued to non-US residents and qualified institutional buyers with lesser protection clauses.

The company said geographically, the notes were distributed 37 percent in Asia, 30 percent in Europe and 33 percent in the US.

"We are extremely pleased with the strong interest shown by top global investors in Bharti's inaugural bond issue," Bharti Group Treasurer Harjeet Kohli said.