Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Vodafone draws a line under Indian experiment with $1.2bn towers sale

Vodafone draws a line under Indian experiment with $1.2bn towers sale

The tower deals with ATC are likely to be completed by June 2018. The two companies have also said they will look at selling their holdings in Indus, the country's biggest mobile masts operator with 123,000 towers, which is jointly owned with an affiliate of rival network operator Bharti Airtel. Upon completion of the sale of tower businesses, Vodafone India will receive $592 million and Idea will receive $615 million.

It merged its loss-making Indian mobile business with Idea, India's third-largest wireless operator, at the start of the year.

The standalone tower businesses of Vodafone and Idea comprise a combined portfolio of almost 20,000 towers. "The parties will work together to further the expansion of high speed mobile networks in India", the statement mentioned.

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The combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are now India's number 2 and 3, respectively, would dislodge Bharti Airtel to counter the bruising price war in the world's second-largest telecom market. The launch of services by Reliance Jio in September a year ago has spurred a wave of consolidation in the Indian telecom industry. It will have revenue of Rs81,600 crore and an operating profit of Rs24,400 crore.

Vodafone will net $592m from the deal with Indian partner Idea Cellular receiving $615m. The merger, expected to be completed in 2018, is awaiting various approvals.

Vodafone too has sold its tower business in India to ATC Telecom for an enterprise value of Rs 3,850 crore.

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Recently, Idea Cellular India reported a dip in the profit and a consolidated net loss of Rs 1106.80 crore for the quarter ended September 30.

The combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are now India's number 2 and 3, respectively, would dislodge Bharti Airtel to counter the bruising price war in the world's second-largest telecom market.

Bharti Infratel, which was earlier touted as one of the potential buyers for Idea and Vodafone towers, recently brought on board private equity investors KKR and CPPIB.

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