Bharti Tele to raise $600 mn via ECBs this fiscal

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Tuesday, 27 January 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: Bharti TeleVentures is planning to raise around $500-600 million by way of external commercial borrowings (ECBs) in the next financial year. This follows the relaxation in ECB guidelines by the government. Speaking to reporters, Akhil Gupta, joint managing director, Bharti, said, “We will be raising around $500-600m through the ECB/ECA route, which will be used to refinance the earlier loans and for equipment purchases.” Earlier this month, the government put all ECBs up to $500m on the automatic route. Corporates can now get automatic approvals for raising ECBs, as long as the loan is for a minimum of five years. The automatic route is available for the industrial sector.

Bharti had earlier made an application before the finance ministry for raising $416m, according to informed sources. Currently, Bharti’s debt is around Rs 3,700 crore. Regarding the company’s proposed ADR, Gupta said, “As of now, there are no firm plans about an ADR (American Depository Receipts) issue.” Plans are likely to be firmed up only after the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit is raised by the government from the existing 49% to 74%.

Gupta said he was not in favour of raising more equity at a time when debt is available easily. He was speaking on the sidelines of a meet organised by Crisil on ‘Risk perspectives in the telecom industry’. Kishore Chaukar, chairman, Tata Industries, declined to provide a time-frame for the Idea IPO, saying, “We have invested about Rs 1,000 crore in Idea. We are not getting out in a hurry.”

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