Bharti Airtel completes 5% stake sale to Qatar Foundation Endowment

Bharti Airtel Ltd,  India’s largest telecommunications company by number of users, said Monday it has completed a 5% stake sale worth about $1.18 billion.

The company allotted about 199.87 million shares to Doha-based Qatar Foundation Endowment.

“The equity shares, having a face value of 5-rupees each, have been issued at a price of 340-rupees each on a preferential basis for a total consideration of 67.96 billion rupees,” the New Delhi-based telecom company said in a statement.

Qatar Foundation Endowment is an investment firm set up recently to fund the activities of Qatar Foundation , a not-for-profit organization of the Gulf country’s royal family.

On May 3, Qatar Foundation Endowment and Bharti had announced a binding agreement for the investment. As part of the deal, Qatar Foundation Endowment will also have one seat on Bharti Airtel’s management board.

The investment will help the Indian telecommunications company cut its debt and expand both in its home country in India, its South Asian operations as well as in Africa. The company had about $11.74 billion of debt at the end of March, taken in 2010, mostly to fund its purchase of the African operations of Mobile Telecommunications Co. (MTC) K.S.C. (ZAIN.KW), and to buy bandwidth for third-generation, or 3G telecom services.

Bharti – owned about a third by SingTel (Z74.SG) – raised $1.5 billion by selling bonds in the overseas market during the January-March quarter to repay some high-cost loans. It also sold stakes in some of its units earlier to raise funds to reduce debt.

With the transaction completed, “the paid-up share capital of Bharti would now stand increased to INR19.987 billion rupees, consisting of 3.997 billion equity shares of 5-rupees each,” the statement added.