Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has received financing commitments of up to $2.5 billion from China Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – strengthening its existing partnership with Huawei and ZTE.
The company signed the term sheets for the financing options in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently visiting China.
Airtel, which has presence in India, South Asia and Africa, will look at drawing these funds over a long availability period, depending on its financing needs.
China Development Bank has committed financing of up to $2 billion with an average maturity of about nine years. This is the single largest bilateral commitment by China Development Bank to any telecom operator globally and the largest bilateral commitment to a private Indian company.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has committed $500 million with an average life of about nine years, making it the largest and longest bilateral commitment to an Indian telecom operator.
These financing options will allow the company to diversify its global financing pool and access funds to invest in the growth of data networks.
Rajan Bharti Mittal, vice chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said: “Given the availability period of three years, these financings shall further add to the financial flexibility that the company already has.”
In March 2015, Airtel announced a strategic collaboration with China Mobile to work towards the growth of the LTE ecosystem. Airtel has network equipment sourcing deals with ZTE and Huawei.