Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel) has announced its intentions to acquire a 7.39% stake in Indian telecoms giant Bharti Airtel’s holding company, Bharti Telecom Ltd, which has operations in 18 countries across South Asia and Africa, for a cash consideration of USD659.5 million. In a statement today, Singtel confirmed it will purchase Temasek Holding’s 7.39% stake in Bharti Telecom – and a separate 21% stake in Thai telecom firm Intouch Holdings PCL (the biggest shareholder in Thailand’s largest mobile operator Advanced Info Services Public Company [AIS]) – for a total consideration of SGD2.47 billion (USD1.8 billion). As a result of the settlement deal, Temasek Holdings will receive a total of SGD884 million for its Bharti Telecom shares. Bharti Telecom holds a 45.09% interest in Mumbai-listed Bharti Airtel. Furthermore, the Mittal family has a 51% equity stake in Bharti Telecom and Singtel held 39%. Temasek’s 7.39% stake will now transfer to Singtel ‘as part of [a] strategy to bring all telecom assets worldwide under the Singapore government entity’, it said. The transaction is subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions precedent, including shareholder and relevant regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed by December 2016, Singtel said. ‘Through these acquisitions, Singtel will increase its economic interests in AIS and Airtel,’ it said.
The statement read: ‘This transaction will be funded through internal cash, short-term debt and proceeds from a share placement of 386 million new Singtel shares to Temasek totalling Singapore Dollar 1.605 billion at a price of Singapore Dollar 4.16 per new share. The acquisitions of the stakes in Intouch and Bharti Telecom, as well as the share placement are subject to minority shareholder and regulatory approvals. The acquisitions and share placement are interdependent and have to close at the same time.’ Bharti Telecom declined to comment.