Bharti Airtel promoter Bharti Telecom has sought the Indian government’s permission to allow an SGD 937.03 million (INR 4,900 crore) investment from Singapore-based Singtel and other foreign entities, according to media reports.
This move would make the country’s oldest private telecom operator a foreign entity by increasing the foreign stakeholding in Bharti Telecom to over 50 per cent, sources said.
Currently, Bharti Telecom holds around 41 per cent stake in Airtel while foreign entities hold 21.46 per cent stake in the telecom firm. Public shareholders make up 37 per cent of the company.
The Indian Department of Telecom had earlier this year rejected Bharti Airtel’s FDI application as the company had not provided clarity on who the foreign investors would be.
The total foreign shareholding in Airtel currently is 43 per cent. If Bharti Telecom’s foreign shareholding increases with the purported investment, the foreign stake in Airtel will cross 84 per cent, according to estimates.
The company had in August informed Indian stock exchanges that Bharti Telecom may seek equity from its existing overseas promoter entities, among others, to settle the telecom giant’s debt.