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Bharti Airtel Transfers Another 19% Stake In DTH Arm To Nettle Infrastructure

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Bharti Airtel Ltd. moved one step closer to selling its stake in its direct-to-home business to Warburg Pincus.

The Sunil Mittal-led company will transfer 19 percent stake in Bharti Telemedia Ltd. to its wholly owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Ltd., according to an exchange filing. Post the transfer, Nettle will hold 44 percent stake in the third-largest direct-to-home company in India.

A part of that stake will be utilized for the completion of the stake sale in Bharti Telemedia to the private equity firm, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson told BloombergQuint. In December, the company had announced a deal to sell 20 percent stake in the DTH unit to Warburg Pincus for $350 million.

Bharti Airtel has in the past too transferred its holding in group companies to Nettle as a precursor to stake sales. Nearly a year ago, Bharti Airtel transferred 11.32 percent stake in Bharti Infratel Ltd. to Nettle. It subsequently sold 8.15 percent in the tower arm to pare debt.

Bharti Airtel had a net debt of more than Rs 90,000 crore as of December and has lined up capital expenditure worth at least Rs 25,000 crore for the financial year 2018-19. The telecom company’s consolidated leverage rose for the third straight quarter amid growing competition triggered by a tariff war unleashed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

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