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India's Idea Cellular launches up to $546 million share sale

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian wireless carrier Idea Cellular (IDEA.NS) on Wednesday launched a share sale to institutional investors to raise up to 35 billion rupees ($546 million) ahead of its merger with Vodafone's (VOD.L) Indian business.

Idea, part of the metals-to-financials Aditya Birla conglomerate, intends to use the funds to reduce debt including loans for airwave purchases, it said in a regulatory filing.

Last month Idea announced plans to raise a total 67.5 billion rupees ahead of proposed merger, which the two sides expect to close during the first half of this year.[nL4N1OZ2YU]

Idea said that the share sale launched on Wednesday has a floor price of 86.84 rupees per share, with a potential discount of up to 5 percent. The shares closed at 84.80 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup are managing the sale.

($1 = 64.0950 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by David Goodman)