Bharti Infratel To Acquire Indus Towers, To Be World’s Largest Tower Firm

Bharti Infratel, the tower business arm of Bharti Airtel, is eyeing to acquire Indus Towers, world’s largest telecom towers company.

“The board of directors of Bharti Infratel in their meeting held on October 30 has decided to explore and evaluate acquisition of stake in one or more tranches in Indus Towers, with the aim of making it a subsidiary or wholly owned subsidiary of Bharti Infratel,” Infratel said Monday in a statement.

If this happens, Bharti Infratel is going to be the largest telecom towers company, not only in the country but in the world with excess of 160,000 towers.

At present Indus has 123,000 towers where as Bharti Infratel has 39,264 towers.

At the current shareholding structure, Bharti Infratel and Vodafone India hold 42% stake each in Indus Towers. The remaining 16% stake was once held by Idea Cellular but the ADitya Birla firm had recently sold 4.85% stake to Providence Equity Partners and holds just 11.15% stake now.

If Airtel’s tower arm acquires Indus Towers, as per its own admission, it may acquire the firm completely or would like to go for a majority stake.

The sell off of Indus became imperative as two of its founding partners – Vodafone and Idea Cellular – are in the middle of a merger talk and it would close somewhere in 2018. In the merger contract, Vodafone’s stake in Indus is not a part of the deal. So it had to be offloaded.

On 30 October Bharti Infratel announced its quarterly results. It posted revenues of Rs 3648 crore in Q2 2017 as against Rs 3292 crore in the same period a year ago showing a growth of 11%.

On half year basis the company’s revenue grew by 10%. In first half year of 2017, Bharti Infratel posted revenues of Rs 7172 crore compared to Rs 6503 crore in H2, 2016.

In terms of profit, however, the company showed poor results. It reported net profit of Rs 638 crore in September quarter of 2017 compared Rs 774 crore in the same period a year ago.

This earnings figures are the consolidated revenue and profit figures of Bharti Infratel that also include earnings from Indus Towers where Bharti Airtel has 42% stake.

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