Sunil Mittal promoted Airtel and Mukesh Ambani promoted Reliance Jio may mobilise as much as $5.6 billion by selling bonds as the telecom titans build a war chest, Bloomberg reports. The latest telecom news
report said Bharti Airtel, which sold its first-ever rupee bond of Rs 30 billion last month, has approval to raise Rs 165 billion.
Reliance Jio plans to sell as much as Rs 200 billion of notes, marking the disruptive upstart’s return to the onshore bond market after 20 months.
The fundraising amount — about 78 percent of the total outstanding bonds of India’s top four telecom firms — signal that the largest carrier and its rival Jio are gearing to roll out next-generation services and manage about Rs 320 billion debt due in the next five years.
Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, said in a regulatory filing that the money would be used for treasury activities, including refinancing, and for paying off spectrum dues. Jio hasn’t specified end use, though it has significant repayments due in the next few years, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The debt at four publicly traded wireless operators — Airtel, Idea, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra – rose 55 percent since the end of March 2016 to $34.81 billion, according to Bloomberg.