Idea Cellular posts smaller-than-expected Q2 loss; shares plummet 3

Idea Cellular, Vodafone to sell tower businesses to ATC Telecom for ...

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have separately agreed to sell their standalone tower businesses to ATC Telecom Infrastructure for an enterprise value on Rs. 78.5 billion. "The parties will work together to further the expansion of high speed mobile networks in India", the statement mentioned.

The transactions will help ATC strengthen its foothold in India's telecom tower sector.

"The aggregate cash consideration for the transactions is expected to be Rs 78.5 billion, or approximately $1.2 billion at current exchange rates, subject to customary closing adjustments", said the United States based tower company that had earlier acquired Viom Networks, another Indian tower company.

In 2015, ATC agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Viom Networks Ltd for $1.2 billion.

The Idea-Vodafone merger will create the world's second-largest and India's largest telecom firm, overtaking Bharti Airtel Ltd. Jio's pricing strategy has hurt rivals' profits as they try to match low tariffs and also pushed some carriers to consolidate operations.

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The standalone tower business of both companies comprises a combined portfolio of about 20,000 towers with a tenancy ratio of 1.65 as on June 30, 2017. Mint had reported that Idea was also in talks to sell its entire stake in Indus to another buyer with the consent of Bharti Airtel.

Shares of Idea Cellular today fell almost 4 per cent after the company posted a loss of Rs 1,106.80 crore for the second quarter this fiscal.

The transactions are expected to be immediately accretive to AFFO per share, and the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

Media reports have said KKR & Co LP, which along with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, already owns over a 10th of Bharti Infratel, the only publicly-traded mast operator in India, is leading a group of investors to take control of the company.

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