Bharti Airtel planning to raise $3 billion: Report

NEW DELHI: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel would seek approval of its board on December 4 to raise an estimated $3 billion (around Rs 21,500 crore), banking sources closely following the development said on Friday. Airtel will raise the funds to pay the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) liability and partially invest in the network, sources mentioned.

The company has informed the bourses that its board meeting on December 4 would consider a proposal to raise funds through issues of equity or bonds.

“The company is planning to raise $3 billion in this round. Part of it will be used to pay back AGR liability,” a banking source said.

The company has posted a staggering Rs 23,045 crore net loss for the second quarter ended September 30, due to provisioning of Rs 28,450 crore in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on statutory dues.

According to government data, the liabilities in the case of Bharti Airtel add up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is licence fee and another Rs 13,904.01 crore is the SUC dues (not including the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices).

“…a meeting of the board of Directors of the Company is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 to, inter-alia, consider and evaluate any and all proposals for raising of funds either by issuance of equity shares, and or bonds including foreign currency convertible bonds,” Airtel said in a regulatory filing.

The board will also evaluate raising of funds through debentures, non-convertible debt instruments along with warrants, convertible debentures, securities or any other equity-based instruments including through qualified institutions placement or rights issue, or through any other permissible mode, the filing said.

The government is currently not considering any proposal on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee based on AGR, or on extending the timelines for telecom companies to pay up their statutory dues.

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