August 7, 2014 / 11:57 AM / 3 years ago

India's Bharti Airtel raises $350 mln from unit Bharti Infratel share sale

MUMBAI, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s top mobile phone carrier, on Thursday raised about 21.40 billion rupees ($349.6 million) from a share sale in its unit Bharti Infratel Ltd to comply with a rule that requires listed companies to have a minimum 25 percent public shareholding.

Bharti Airtel, which as of end-June owned 79.4 percent of Bharti Infratel, was selling up to 85 million shares, or an about 4.5 percent stake, through the stock exchange.

The sale was covered 1.27 times at an indicative price of 251.71 rupees per share, stock exchange data showed.

Indian companies are riding on a surge in the stock market after a new government took power to raise funds by selling shares. Bharti Infratel, which went public in December 2012, had three years from the initial public offering date to pare its founders’ holding to 75 percent.

The fund-raising also helps Bharti Airtel, headed by billionaire Sunil Mittal, as it strives to cut its debt. The company, which had a net debt of $9.6 billion as of June, last month agreed to sell about a fifth of its telecoms towers in Africa.

Last year it sold a 5 percent stake in the company for about $1.1 billion to a Qatari fund.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS and JPMorgan were brokers to the Bharti Infratel share sale. ($1 = 61.2200 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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