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Financial Briefs: India and overseas

March 01, 2012
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Batelco sells its 42.7 per cent stake in S Tel (India)

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has announced the sale of its 42.7 per cent stake in S Tel for $175 million. The move marks the first exit by a foreign operator from the Indian telecom sector following the Supreme Court verdict, which cancelled 122 2G licences. Batelco will reportedly sell its stake to its Indian partner Sky City Foundation Limited at the same price that it had paid to acquire its holding in S Tel in 2009.

Tulip Telecom raises Rs 2.5 billion through mezzanine financing

Tulip Telecom has raised Rs 2.5 billion through mezzanine financing from an unnamed financial institution. The deal saw the company achieving financial closure of its Rs 9 billion wholly owned subsidiary Tulip Data Centre Private Limited in Bengaluru. After acquiring the Bengaluru data centre in 2011 for Rs 2.3 billion, Tulip had raised a long-term debt of Rs 2.5 billion and has since been looking for private equity funding to meet a portion of the remaining Rs 4.2 billion funds requirement. While the mezzanine funding will meet the bulk of this requirement, the balance will come from the company’s internal resources.

Etisalat writes off $827 million from Indian operations

UAE-based Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat) has written off investments worth $827 million from its Indian joint venture (JV), Etisalat DB. The move is seen as an attempt by the operator to exit India after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G licences recently. However, the company may revisit the Indian telecom market at a later stage through the merger and acquisition route. The development follows a similar move by Norway-based wireless operator, Telenor to write off $721 million from its Indian operations.

Piramal Healthcare doubles its stake in Vodafone India

Piramal Healthcare has acquired 5.5 per cent stake in Vodafone India for $618 million. The deal saw Piramal buying shares of Essar Telecommunications Holding Limited, which marked the complete exit of Essar from the Vodafone JV. The acquisition has doubled Piramal’s stake in the company to 11 per cent after the initial purchase of 5.5 per cent stake for $640 million in August 2011.

Vee Telecom buys 72.43 per cent stake in VMAX Telecom (Taiwan)

Taiwan-based Vee Telecom has bought a 72.43 per cent stake in VMAX Telecom by acquiring a 38.96 per cent stake from Tecom and 33.47 per cent stake from Vibo Telecom. The operator has paid TWD 2.7 per share. Further, it has been reported that Vee Telecom intends to acquire the remaining 25.57 per cent stake in the company in the future.

Etisalat plans sale of its African tower assets (UAE)

Etisalat is planning to sell its telecom tower operations in Africa. The sale is likely to generate funds between $500 million and $600 million for the company. Standard Chartered has been hired to advise the company on the potential deal.

Mobily announces $2.67 billion refinancing arrangement (Saudi Arabia)

Saudi Arabia-based telecom operator Mobily has signed a $2.67 billion refinancing agreement with a group of seven local banks. The funds will be utilised to refinance three of its existing loans into a single four-tranche loan, which will be repayable over five to seven years. Mobily says the facility will be used to help finance investments in its mobile data and fixed broadband services.

NTT plans share buyback worth $2.2 billion (Japan)

Japan-based NTT DOCOMO is planning to spend JPY 166.5 billion to buy back its 44 million shares from the Ministry of Finance. Post the transaction, the government’s stake in the company will reduce from the existing 36.6 per cent to 33.3 per cent (the minimum permitted level). NTT will pay JPY 3,785 per share.

Qatar seeks stake in Oger Telecom (Qatar)

The State of Qatar has approached Dubai-based Saudi Oger to acquire its 55 per cent stake in Oger Telecom. Oger Telecom’s principal subsidiaries include Turk Telekom (and its mobile unit Avea), in which it holds a 55 per cent stake and South Africa-based mobile operator Cell C, in which it holds a 75 per cent stake. According to industry reports, putting a price on the entire deal is difficult as Cell C is unlisted but Turk Telecom’s stake alone is worth at least $8.6 billion.

Singapore Technologies Electronics to acquire Nera Telecommunications for SGD 141 million (Singapore)

Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited’s unit, Singapore Technologies Electronics, will acquire Nera  Telecommunications  Limited, a satellite  telecommunication company. The shareholders of Nera Telecommunications will reportedly receive an aggregate cash amount of SGD 141 million at SGD 0.45 per share.

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