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Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers Merger Expected To Be Completed By August

The mega merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers — which will create a telecom infrastructure juggernaut with over 163,000 towers — is expected to be completed by August this year, according to a top company official.

The combination, which was announced in April last year, is slated to create the largest mobile tower operator in the world outside China, with over 163,000 towers operating across all 22 telecom service areas in India.

“…the merger process with Indus Towers…as on date we have received all the permissions, including the final National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) order. We now await the approval for enhancement of foreign direct investment limit from Department of Telecom. We expect to complete the merger within August 2019,” Akhil Gupta, chairman of Bharti Infratel, said during the company’s post-earnings call with analysts.

Gupta said the company did not anticipate any “meaningful difference” on competitive dynamics following the recent announcement pertaining to RIL’s tower arm.

Last week, Reliance Industries had said that Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management will invest Rs 25,215 crore in the units proposed to be issued by Tower Infrastructure Trust, sponsored by RIL’s wholly-owned unit Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Ltd (RIIHL). The deal marks the single largest foreign investment in an Indian infrastructure vehicle.

“These towers have always been there. The InvIT very clearly is a financial restructuring exercise…What we have seen there is that the terms are as per agreements which are generally in the market. There is nothing really new, and that is why we really do not expect any meaningful difference on the competitive scenario on account of this development,” Gupta said.

Last year, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group had announced an agreement for merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel. The combined entity, which will fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, will change its name to Indus Towers and will continue to be listed on Indian stock exchanges.

In May this year, Bharti and Vodafone Group named Bimal Dayal (currently CEO, Indus Towers) as the CEO of the merged entity. Hemant Ruia, currently CFO of Indus Towers, has been named the chief financial officer of the combined entity.

Telecom infrastructure firm Bharti Infratel has posted a 39 percent jump in consolidated net profit at Rs 887 crore for the June quarter on account of network expansion by mobile service providers. The company had recorded a net profit of Rs 638 crore in the same period a year ago.

The consolidated revenue, however, increased by only 1 percent to Rs 3,712 crore during the reported quarter from Rs 3,674 crore in the corresponding period of 2018-19.―Money Control

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