Qatari investor selling $1.46 billion stake in India’s Bharti Airtel: term sheet

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MUMBAI (Reuters) – A Qatari investor plans to sell a 5 percent stake in top Indian telecoms carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS) on Wednesday for about 95 billion rupees ($1.46 billion), adding to the Gulf nation’s recent stake sales in foreign companies.

A girl checks her mobile phone as she walks past the Bharti Airtel office building in Gurugram, previously known as Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

Three Pillars Pte Ltd, an affiliate of the Qatar Foundation, has put up for sale through stock market transactions about 199.9 million shares in Bharti Airtel in a price range of 473-490 rupees each, according to a deal term sheet.

The price range is a discount of 4.7-8 percent to Bharti Airtel’s Tuesday closing price, but far higher than the 340 rupees Three Pillars paid for it in 2013.

The stake sale comes after other Qatari companies, including its sovereign wealth fund, have been cutting stakes in foreign companies and raising cash to withstand pressure on its economy, which has been hit by economic sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since early June.

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

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has responded to the crisis by pumping billions of dollars into local banks to shore up their deposits.

It has also reduced its stake in upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co (TIF.N), Russian energy giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) and Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CSGN.S).

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.

Bharti Airtel shares fell 3.4 percent to close at 514.35 rupees ahead of the news on Tuesday, but are still up more than 68 percent in 2017.

A spokesman for the Bharti Group declined to comment.

Rashed Fahad Al-Noaimi, chief executive officer of investments at Qatar Foundation, is on Bharti Airtel’s board.

UBS is the handling the planned share sale, according to the term sheet.

(The story corrects to show sale is on Wednesday, not Friday, in first paragraph.)

Reporting by S. Anuradha of IFR, Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in Dubai and Sankalp Phartiyal in Mumbai, Writing by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Louise Heavens

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