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Quippo to raise USD 300 Mn

Quippo Telecom Infrastructure Ltd. is looking to raise around $300 million through a stake sale to pay off its debt, the unlisted Indian telecom tower company's managing director said Wednesday.

“We are looking to sell less than a 10% stake. It will most probably be a fresh issue (of shares) to private-equity companies,” Sunil Kanoria, who is also the company's vice chairman, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The company holds a 49% stake in Wireless TT Info-Services Ltd., or WTTIL, which was earlier named Wireless Tata Telecom Infrastructure Ltd. Wireless Tata Telecom Infrastructure was formed via a merger of the telecom tower operations of Tata Teleservices Ltd. and Quippo in January.

WTTIL now has about 25,000 towers. At the time of the deal in January, the combined entity had about 18,000 towers, which gave it an enterprise value of 130 billion rupees ($2.82 billion).

For its deal with Tata Teleservices, Quippo had taken debt, which it intends to retire by raising money through the stake sale, Mr. Kanoria said.

Demand for passive telecom network infrastructure such as towers is booming in India – the world's fastest-growing telecom market by subscriber additions – as new mobile providers opt for leasing infrastructure to reduce costs and roll out services faster.

In an effort to tap this market, WTTIL is looking at buying the tower assets of unlisted telecom operator Aircel Ltd.

“We have made a bid and are yet to hear on an outcome,” he said, adding, Aircel hasn't given a deadline by which it plans to finalize a deal.

Local media reports have said Aircel was planning to sell 51% of its tower business. Analysts estimate the value of Aircel's about 12,000 towers at around 5 million rupees-6 million rupees each.

WTTIL has lined up aggressive growth plans as it targets to have 60,000 towers in the next two years, excluding what it may acquire from Aircel, Mr. Kanoria said.

In August, Mr. Kanoria said the company had plans to spend 50 billion rupees-55 billion rupees on building towers over two years.

Source: WSJ

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