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Singtel a ‘strategic investor’ in Airtel

Singapore Telecommunications today asserted its commitment to the investment in Bharti Airtel, and said its India investment in the telecom major remains a core bet in its international portfolio.

Singtel refused to comment on the report of looking to sell its stake a part of its stake in Airtel back to Sunil Mittal, and added that it has been a strategic investor in Airtel for decades.

Regarding the unconfirmed reports, Singtel added, “As for the media hearsay, we do not comment on market speculation and abide by market disclosure rules pertaining to material transactions.”

On May 26, some news reports cited that Singapore Telecommunications is in talks with Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal to part sell its holding, which could be worth $1-2 billion.

This move could bring down Singtel’s holding by up to 4 per cent. Singtel added that it has undertaken an exercise to narrow the valuation gap, as the value of its holding in associates may not be fully reflecting in the share price of Singtel.

In the press statement, Singtel cited few other divestments, as part of its effort to ‘recycle capital’.

The Singtel CEO added that he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ on improving Indian market. It should also be noted that Moody’s has yesterday changed the outlook on Airtel’s ratings to ‘Stable’ from Positive. The top ratings agency added that the upgrade ‘reflects the continued strengthening of Bharti’s operational metrics as well as the stabilisation of its financial profile, including lower leverage levels and improving profitability.’ Moneycontrol

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