Airtel to raise additional Rs 1,800 crore to pare debt

NEW DELHI: After having secured around $3 billion in equity and debt funding over the past month, telecom major Bharti Airtel is now planning to raise yet another $250 million (RS 1,780 crore) through an issue of perpetual bonds. According to exchange filings made by the company on Wednesday, the telecom major will raise the funds through wholly-owned Mauritius-based subsidiary Network i2i.

“We are pleased to inform you that Network i2i Limited, a Mauritius-based wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, through joint book-runners and joint lead managers, has approached investors for the proposed additional issuance of $5.65 per cent subordinated perpetual securities guaranteed by Bharti Airtel Limited,” the company said, adding that this is to be in continuance to the earlier series of bonds floated in October last year, raising $750 million.

The telecom major had announced last year that this funding will be used to pare down debt levels at the company.

Faced with AGR-related liabilities extending to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore, Airtel had also raised nearly $3 billion (RS 21,000 crore) through two separate instruments in January: a Qualified Institutional Placement worth $2 billion as well as an issue of foreign currency convertible bonds up to $1 billion. Further provisions for interest costs associated with AGR liabilities have also kept Airtel’s bottom line in the red during the third quarter of this fiscal.