ibusinesslines.com July 16, 2018

Qatar Foundation Endowment Sells Entire 5% Stake in Airtel

09 November 2017, 10:11 | Melissa Porter

The Bharti Airtel stock closed at Rs495.15, down Rs19.20 (-3.73 per cent) on information that a Qatari investor has put up a 5-per cent stake in the telecom major amidst an exodus of Qatari investors from the Arab country which is facing a boycott by its neighbours. The foreign investor will offer almost 20 crore shares of the telecom services major at Rs 473-490 per share, the term sheet for the deal showed.

The stake sale comes at a time when, most Qatari firms, including its sovereign wealth fund, are winding up their foreign portfolios by selling their stakes in foreign companies, reported Mint. In a statement, QFE said that the block trade was priced at Rs 481 per share, a discount of 6.4% to the previous closing price as of 7th November 2017.

QFE's affiliate Three Pillars Pt Ltd (TPPL), had invested about $1.26 billion in 2013 in Bharti Airtel. A spokesman for the Bharti Group declined to comment on the Qatar stake sale. The investment saw TPPL acquire 199,870,006 shares at a price of Rs 340 per share.

The Gulf countries cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on 5 June, accusing it of backing terrorism, which Doha denied.

Bharti Airtel shares fell nearly 6 per cent as more than 243 million shares changed hands in multiple block deals, according to reports. Bharti Airtel has successfully maintained its market-leading position, and its positive momentum has led to our investment performing well.

QFE said that UBS acted as Sole Bookrunner on this transaction.

TPPL's representative on Bharti Airtel's Board of Directors will step down immediately.

Around 166.10 million shares or 4.2% stake of Bharti Airtel changed hands in seven block deals.

Indian telecom stocks, including Bharti Airtel, have also gained on signs of an end to a bruising price war and hopes that industry consolidation will benefit established players. Airtel is India's largest mobile operator with 24% subscriber market share and 31% revenue market share.

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