Indian telco to use proceeds from stake sale to consortium to pay down debt.

Bharti Airtel on Tuesday sold a 10.3% stake in Bharti Infratel to a consortium of funds advised by KKR and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) for 61.93 billion rupees (€876.66 million).

The Indian operator said it will use the proceeds to pay down debt. After the deal closes, Bharti Airtel’s direct equity holding in its towers business will stand at 61.7%, and KKR and CPPIB will become Infratel’s single biggest public shareholders.

"This investment by a consortium of marquee long-term investors underlines the confidence of the global investors in India’s growth story and the government’s Digital India initiative in particular. It further reinforces the positive outlook for the telecom infrastructure sector," said Bharti Airtel chairmand Sunil Bharti Mittal.

"The long-term investment horizon of the investors aligns well with the capital needs and business cycles of Bharti Infratel," he added.

Tuesday’s deal comes a week after Bharti Airtel sold a 21.63% directly-held stake in Infratel to its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nettle Infrastructure Investments, in a deal worth INR124 billion.

Earlier in March, Bharti Airtel announced that, following a strategic review, it had opted against selling a controlling stake in the company.