Singtel to buy 7.39% stake in Bharti Telecom for $658 mn

Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) on Thursday announced that it will pick up 7.39 percent equity stake in Bharti Telecom, the holding company of Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom service provider, for $658 million.

Singtel currently already has approximately 39.78 percent stake in Bharti Telecom and approximately 15.01 percent stake in Bharti Airtel.

Following the acquisition of the Bharti Telecom sale shares, Singtel’s equity in Bharti Telecom will increase from approximately 39.78 percent to 47.17 percent.

The development, as per a series of regulatory filings across countries, is a part of a larger deal struck by Singtel with Temasek to acquire 21 percent in Thailand-based Intouch Holdings and 7.39 percent of Bharti Telecom for a total consideration of $1.8 billion.

Singtel said the aggregate consideration payable for the Bharti Telecom sale shares is approximately Singapore Dollars 884 million or $658 million. The deal comes just ahead of India’s largest-ever spectrum auction to date.

Singtel will pay Temasek Thai Baht 60.83 per share of Intouch and Rs 235.62 per share of Bharti Telecom.

The complex deal also involves a share placement of 386 million new Singtel shares to Temasek totalling Singapore Dollars 1.605 billion at a price of Singapore Dollars 4.16 per new share.

Singtel said the acquisition of stake in Bharti Telecom and Intouch Holdings, which is the biggest shareholder in Thailand’s largest mobile phone company, Advanced Info Services, further consolidates its economic interests in the Asia Pacific region.

“Singtel has been a strategic partner to both Advanced Info Services and Airtel for more than 15 years. We have built deep and trusted relationships, worked well together through the years, sharing knowledge and expertise and we have grown together, from strength to strength,” said Singtel Group CEO Chua Sock Koong.

Singtel has a combined mobile customer base of more than 380 million across Asia and Africa.

The company said both India and Thailand are fundamentally attractive markets, reaping the benefits of rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and mobile data adoption by a growing middle class.

The recent mobile spectrum auctions in Thailand and ongoing industry consolidation in India have strengthened their competitive positions.