Bharti Airtel arm buys additional 6.3% stake in Bangladesh's Robi Axiata

Robi is the second largest mobile network operator in Bangladesh
Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said its subsidiary has acquired an additional 6.3 per cent stake in Bangladesh's telecom operator Robi Axiata from NTT Docomo for an undisclosed sum.

The all-cash deal will raise the stake of Bharti International (Singapore) -- wholly-owned subsidiary of Bharti Airtel -- in Robi Axiata to 31.3 per cent from 25 per cent at present, the company said in a BSE filing.

"...Bharti International (Singapore) Pte Ltd (directly and through its affiliate entities)... has acquired additional 6.3 per cent stake in Robi Axiata Limited (an entity in Bangladesh) from NTT Docomo Inc and its group entities, on June 09, 2020," it said.

The deal has been approved by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

Robi is the second largest mobile network operator in Bangladesh. It is a subsidiary company of Axiata Investments (Labuan) Limited, which is an arm of Asian telecom giant, Axiata Group Berhad, based in Malaysia. Axiata holds over 68 per cent stake in the Bangladesh telecom company.

Airtel said the acquisition of the shares of Robi from Docomo has been done at mutually-agreed valuation.

"The said valuation is non-material and is not disclosed herein due to reasons of confidentiality," it added.

In 2016, Bharti Airtel and Robi Axiata announced merger of operations in Bangladesh. So far, Axiata held 68.7 per cent controlling stake in the combined entity, Bharti Airtel 25 per cent and the rest 6.3 per cent was NTT Docomo.

There has been a notable pick up in deals in the telecom space and of late, Indian telecom companies too seem to be on radar of global investors.

It is pertinent to mention here that on May 26, Airtel's promoter firm Bharti Telecom sold 2.75 per cent stake in the company to institutional investors in the secondary market for over Rs 8,433 crore.

The sale proceeds will be fully utilised to repay debt at Bharti Telecom and will make the promoter holding firm a 'debt free company'.

Over the past few weeks, Jio Platforms has raised a staggering Rs 97,885.65 crore from marquee technology investors, including Facebook, KKR, Silver Lake Partners, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), and Mubadala.

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