Airtel hits Global bond market with $1 billion issue to fund capex

By: Gizbot Bureau

Country's largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel has approached the global debt market today to raise up to USD 1 billion in a 10-year bond sale programme.

Airtel hits Global bond market with $1 billion issue to fund capex

Bharti's USD 1-billion Reg S bond is in the market. The 10-year note will be closed by tonight, after the US markets closes, one of the lead bankers to the issue told PTI.

The source further said the Sunil Bharti promoted company has given an initial price guidance of 220 basis points above the US treasury, which is trading at around 2.60 per cent.

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The company has appointed six merchant bankers to the deal, which include Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered among others.

Airtel hits Global bond market with $1 billion issue to fund capex

This marks the first major bond sale by a domestic private sector corporate in the fiscal. Last year the heavily indebted company had hit the forex debt market thrice raising more than USD 2.5 billion.

Earlier in the day, in an exchange filing the New Delhi-based company said it will be raising funds from the international market. "Bharti Airtel has approached investors for issuance of debt instruments in the form of USD-denominated senior unsecured notes," it said in a filing to BSE.

The notes are rated BBB- by Fitch, BBB- by S&P and Baa3 by Moody's. "The proceeds will be used for capital expenditure in compliance with end-use guidelines set forth in the master circular by RBI and all laws and regulations of India applicable to the company," Airtel said in the filing, adding instrument will be listed on the Singapore exchange.

The company had posted a 30.5 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 1,255 crore for the March quarter driven by data revenue. But its Africa business continued to bleed with increasing losses and declining revenue.

For the March quarter, its Africa business loss increased to Rs 1,138 crore from Rs 645 crore in the same quarter last year , while for FY15, losses stood at Rs 3,548 crore, against Rs 1,855 crore for FY14.

Source: PTI

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