Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Qatar Foundation exits Airtel, sells stake for Rs 9600 crore

Theresa Hayes | 09 November, 2017, 20:51

Three Pillars Pte, a subsidiary of the Qatar Foundation, sold 199.9 million Bharti Airtel shares through stock market transactions.

The trade was priced at Rs 481 per share, a discount of around three per cent to the closing price as of November 8, 2017. The Qatar Foundation, however, had picked up the stake at Rs 340 apiece in 2013. Given the sale price of Rs 481 per share, the sale of this stake realises a significant gain for TPPL.

Another reason for a cut in stake by the Qatari investor could be to withstand pressure on its economy, which has been hit by economic sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since early June.

QFE will reinvest the proceeds from Bharti Airtel stake sale as part of the growth of its global portfolio and diversification, it said in the statement.

Reports say, "It has also reduced its stake in upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co., Russian energy giant Rosneft and Swiss bank Credit Suisse". TPPL's representative on Bharti Airtel's board will now step down.

The QFE Group will reinvest the proceeds globally, as we continue to grow and diversify our portfolio.

Bharti Airtel Ltd is now trading at Rs 490.75, down by Rs 23.6 or 4.59% from its previous closing of Rs 514.35 on the BSE. The buyers included a mix of foreign and domestic institutional investors, said a source who did not wish to be named.

UBS Group AG is placement agent for the Bharti Airtel offering.

The stake sale comes amid disruptive developments in both countries.

Bharti Airtel is a leading telecom player offering diversified telecom services, viz., wireless, fixed line, enterprise and DTH services.

The share price of Airtel surged to new highs recently as the telecom sector is approaching stabilisation with Reliance Jio increasing tariffs.