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Bharti Airtel mulls global listing of subsidiary BAIN; move to pave way for listing of Africa operation

Airtel’s Africa revenues grew 5.3 per cent on-year to $783 million in the fiscal third quarter.

ET Bureau|
Feb 14, 2018, 03.43 PM IST
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The board of directors of Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV (BAIN), a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, has authorised its management to engage in exploratory talks with banks/intermediaries to evaluate a possible overseas listing.

BAIN is the Bharti group’s international holding company for its Africa operations in 14 countries, and a potential listing could pave the way for listing of its Africa business, said a person aware of the matter.

“The BAIN board on February 12, 2018, has authorised its management to initiate non-binding exploratory discussions with various banks/intermediaries to evaluate the possibility/feasibility of listing of its shares in an internationally recognized stock exchange,” Bharti Airtel said in exchange filings to BSE and NSE on Wednesday.

Bharti Airtel, however, said the “above discussions are at an exploratory/preliminary stage, and at this juncture, there is no certainty of any final decision or outcome”.

In Africa, Bharti has been doing well, having reported a $76 million profit in the December quarter compared with a loss of $93 million in the year-ago period, helped by a surge in data traffic and Airtel Money transactions. Airtel Africa had also reported a $48 million profit in July-September period. Airtel’s Africa revenues grew 5.3 per cent on-year to $783 million in the fiscal third quarter.

Though the Africa operation has historically been a drag on Bharti Airtel, over the past 3-4 years, the Sunil Mittal-led telco has divested $3.3 billion worth of assets, which has helped reduce Africa debt levels by as much as 40 per cent.

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