Airtel will reduce its stake in the towers business, in order to free up cash for its 5G network rollout

Indian mobile network operator, Bharti Airtel, is to lower its stake in towers firm, Bharti Infratel, downgrading its stock holding from 50.33 per cent to just 18.33 per cent. 

Markets reacted positively to the news, with Bharti Airtel’s share price surging 15 per cent since news of the divestment broke, two days ago.  

A statement released by Bharti Infratel said that the transaction was expected to take place on or after the 18th March 2019. 

The stake will be purchased by Airtel’s subsidiary, Nettle Infrastructure Investments. 

With Indian telcos desperately trying to mitigate costs and free up cash for their impending 5G rollouts, Airtel has announced a series of cost saving strategies in recent months. 

Earlier this month, Airtel announced that it was considering launching a joint venture with the newly formed Vodafone Idea, to oversee the company’s FTTH and fibre backhaul offering. 

India’s telecoms sector remains one of the most competitive in the world, with operators trading on wafer thin margins.

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