Grapevine: Airtel weighs tower unit sale; Apollo Global, Cerberus may bet on Altico
Photo Credit: Reuters

Telecom firm Bharti Airtel Ltd is exploring the option of completely selling its stake in its tower infrastructure business to private equity funds, two people familiar with the plan told Mint.

A stake sale in the merged entity combining its telecom tower unit, Bharti Infratel Ltd, and Indus Towers Ltd may, however, take place only when valuations improve from the current subdued levels, said one of the two people cited above.

A potential deal will allow Airtel to reinforce its war chest against market leader Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

“All the three telcos (Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel) are trying to reduce their respective stakes in this business, while Bharti in the long term is looking for a complete exit,” the person said.

In another development, real estate-focused lender Altico Capital India Ltd, which recently defaulted on interest payments, is in talks with private equity funds like Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Capital, for a stake sale, two people aware of the development told Mint.

“While a portion of the investment will be used to pay back lenders, the rest of the fund is likely to be deployed for project completion,” one of the persons said.

On 22 September, Altico said that it was evaluating options to resolve its liquidity issues.

The investors have proposed a 30-40% haircut on the debt owed to lenders as part of a deal to infuse fresh capital, the second person said.

Separately, a consortium of Cosmo Films, Vishal Lohia of Indorama Synthetics and Honk Kong-based SP Growth Partners has shown interest in buying distressed dairy firm Kwality, a person in the know told The Economic Times.

Kwality had previously received interest from Haldiram's early in September. 

Lenders have given time till 5 October to the Cosmo Films-led consortium to submit a bankruptcy resolution plan. The 270-day time frame for the company's resolution expired on 7 September and an extension till 6 November was granted, the report said.

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