Bharti Infratel, Indus Tower to merge, create 1.63 lakh tower

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New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Bharti Airtel has approved to merge Indus Towers into Bharti Infratel to create the largest mobile tower entities worldwide with 1.63 lakh towers across 22 circles in India, a company statement said here on Wednesday.

The combined company will own 100 per cent of Indus Towers, it said.

Indus Towers was currently jointly owned by Bharti Infratel (42 per cent), Vodafone (42 per cent), Idea Group (11.15 per cent) and Providence (4.85 per cent).

The combined company, which will fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, will change its name to Indus Towers Limited and will continue to be listed on the Indian Stock Exchanges.

“Taken together, Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers had over 163,000 towers and 367,000 tenancies as on March 31, 2018. With over Rs 253 billion ($3.8 billion) in revenues (for the financial year ended March 31, 2018).

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“The combined company will be well placed to invest on a national basis to satisfy the future demand from all telecoms operators in India as they continue to densify their networks to support sustained data traffic growth and roll out new network technologies,” the company statement said.

“Indus Towers currently operates in 15 telecom service areas (Circles) and Bharti Infratel’s operations are focused on the remaining seven Circles.

“The combination of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, with their highly complementary footprints, will create a pan-India tower company with the ability to offer high quality passive infrastructure services to all operators on a non-discriminatory basis, needed to support the pan-India expansion of wireless broadband services using 4G/4G+/5G technologies,” it added.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone will have equal rights in the combined company. They have entered into a shareholders’ agreement and it is expected that the combined company’s articles of association will be amended at completion to reflect some of these rights.

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“Following completion, the Board of the combined company will comprise of 11 directors, of whom three will be appointed by each of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, one will be appointed by KKR/Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and four (including the Chairman) will be independent.

“The management team will be confirmed prior to closing,” the statement clarified.

The transaction is subject to approvals from the relevant regulatory authorities, including from Competition Commission of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, National Company Law Tribunal, Department of Telecommunications (FDI approval), approval from Bharti Infratel’s shareholders, necessary corporate approvals from the companies involved, as well as closing conditions.

The transaction is expected to complete before the end of the financial year ending March 31, 2019, the statement added.

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–IANS

ag/in

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