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Airtel Says No Plans To Sell Stake

Bharti Airtel on Monday denied a news report that there was any proposal to sell direct or indirect stake in the company.

“There is no proposal for sale of stake in Bharti Airtel either directly or indirectly,” Airtel said in a notice to the National Stock Exchange Monday.

The company made a filing with the National Stock Exchange in response to a news report on Monday, which said SoftBank was eyeing stake in Bharti Airtel.

The statement further added that the company, did not wish to comment on the “speculative news item”.

The statement comes a week after ET reported that Bharti Airtel had applied for an approval to increase the FDI in the company to 100 percent as the promoter entities, which may include its own overseas entities and Singtel, were planning to infuse capital in Airtel’s holding company, Bharti Telecom.

Singtel owns some 48 percent in Bharti Telecom while the balance is owned by the Mittal family, including some overseas entities. Bharti Telecom in turn owns some 41 percent in Airtel.

This equity infusion into Bharti Telecom would mean foreign investment in Airtel would increase to over 85 percent, neccessitating the need for government approval.

ET had reported that the equity infusion in Bharti Telecom was on the cards to retire most of the debt in the books of the holding company, Bharti Telecom.

Currently, Singtel — directly, and indirectly through Bharti Telecom — owns over 35 percent in Airtel, while Mittal family’s effective shareholding is at around 27 percent.―Business Telegraph

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