India’s Bharti Airtel to combine tower unit with Indus Towers


India’s Bharti Airtel said it has agreed to combine its towers business, Bharti Infratel with its rival, Indus Towers.

According to MobileWorldLive, the merger create the world’s largest tower company outside of China, with an enterprise value of INR965 billion ($14.4 billion).

In a stock exchange filing, Airtel said the combined company will operate 163,000 towers across India. It will operate under the Indus Towers name and will continue to be listed on the Indian stock exchanges.

Airtel and Vodafone will jointly control the combined company.

The deal is subject to regulatory and other approvals and is expected to close before the end of the financial year ending 31 March 2019.

Infratel holds a 42 per cent stake in Indus Towers, one of the largest tower companies in the world. The remaining shares in Indus are held by Vodafone India (42 per cent), Idea Cellular (11.15 per cent) and Providence Equity Partners (4.85 per cent).

At the end of 2017, Infratel owned and operated 39,363 towers with 92,211 co-locations in 11 service areas, while Indus operated 122,962 towers with 288,727 co-locations in 15 areas. The companies had combined revenue of INR253 billion in the financial year to 31 March 2018.