Monday, November 29, 1999

Rel Infratel in talks with GTL to sell stake

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New Delhi, June 17 (PTI) Reliance Infratel, the tower business of Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Communications, is learnt to be in talks with another tower firm GTL to part-sell its stake and also combine the businesses of both entities. Sources said the proposed deal could see the formation of a special purpose vehicle. The deal being worked out values Infratel''s tower assets at around Rs 35,000 crore and GTL Infrastructure at Rs 15,000 crore, sources in the know of the developments said. When contacted, an RCom spokesperson declined to comment. A GTL Infra spokesperson said the company does not comment on such speculations. As per the contours of the proposed deal, RCom which owns 95 per cent stake in Infratel, could get Rs 15,000 crore in cash in exchange and 50 per cent stake in the SPV. Earlier this week, RCom informed the exchanges that its board approved restructuring of RelInfratel to facilitate creation of the worlds largest independent telecom infrastructure company, not owned or controlled by any telecom operator. RCom had also said on Monday that an announcement will be made shortly. Reliance Infratel has around 50,000 towers. The largest tower firm Indus Towers has around 1,00,000 towers and is a combination of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular operating in 16 service areas. GTL Infrastructure, which was demerged from a company called GTL in late 2006, has so far not sold equity to raise funds. The company currently has around 32,500 towers. It is the only independent tower company globally. The Manoj Tirodkar-owned company acquired 17,000 towers from Aircel, majority owned by Malaysias Maxis, in January in a deal valued at Rs 8,400 crore. GTL Infrastructure is a part of Global Group that has seven operational companies with combined revenues of $1.5 billion (Rs 6,967 crore), excluding revenues from the Aircel deal. GTL Infrastructure and GTL are listed, and have market capitalisation of around Rs 8,000 crore.

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