CCEA allows ATC to increase stake in tower business for Rs 2,480 cr

Topics ATC | Telecom tower | Tata group

ATC TIPL, which owns over 75,000 mobile towers, is the largest independent tower company in India
American Tower Corporation (ATC) has received Union Cabinet nod to acquire Tata Group's 12.32 per-cent stake in India's third-largest mobile tower company for Rs 2,480 crore.


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday cleared the US company's  stake purchase in ATC Telecom Infrastructure (ATC TIPL). The clearance allows the US company to increase its stake in its Indian entity to 91 per cent and marks the exit of Tata Group from the mobile tower business.


The acquisition follows the exercise of a 'put' option by Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Tata Sons.


ATC TIPL, which owns over 75,000 mobile towers, is the largest independent tower company in India and overall the third-largest, after Bharti Infratel-Indus Towers and Tower Infrastructure Trust controlling Reliance Jio towers.


ATC has taken the inorganic route to expand its business in India. In 2015, it acquired 51-per cent stake in Viom Networks from TTSL and Srei Infrastructure Finance. Three years later, it acquired Idea Cellular's standalone towers. But in recent months, the company has seen a decline in tower tenancies due to consolidation in the telecom sector. As of February, around 40 per cent of its tenancies came from Vodafone Idea, which has been facing stress.


“ATC India is grateful to the Department of Telecom and CCEA for approving our acquisition of approximately 12 per cent shares of ATC TIPL from TTSL and Tata Sons. This investment reflects our long-standing commitment to India and to the government’s Digital India mission. Since 2007, we have invested Rs 24,000 crore in building and acquiring digital telecom infrastructure in India and our portfolio now stands at approximately 75,000 telecom sites supporting all mobile operators throughout the country," said Amit Sharma, executive vice-president and president, Asia, ATC.


ATC India is a subsidiary of American Tower, one of the largest global real estate investment trusts and a leading independent owner, operator, and developer of multi-tenant communications real estate, with a portfolio of over 181,000 communications sites.

In its press note, the Union government said the Cabinet clearance would lead to foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow of Rs 2,480.92 crore.  "With this approval, the cumulative FDI of M/s ATC Asia Pacific Pte Limited (ATC Singapore) into ATC Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited (ATC India) will be Rs 5,417.2 crore in financial years 2018-19 to 2020-21," it said.


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