Bharti Airtel to sign US$3 billion deal

Bharti Airtel RameshngBharti Airtel will sell its Africa towers in a bidto improve the company's margins.Telecoms company Bharti Airtel is expected to sell its Africa towers to reduce debt and is predicted to profit by up to US$3bn 

Bharti Airtel is set to seal the deal to sell its towers in Africa in seven days, according to the company. 

The Sunil Mittal-headed firm has already shortlisted buyers from among four tower companies – Helios Towers Africa, IHS, American Tower Corp and Eaton Towers, it revealed. 

"Up to US$2bn of the sale proceeds will be used to retire debt, helping improve the company's margins and result in higher profit before tax," one of the people said, adding that profit before tax could easily be boosted by close to US$100mn. The rest will be used for capital expenditure."

The firm has recently been refinancing different areas where debt has mounted up by issuing overseas bonds, helping it to lower its net finance payouts, it said. 

Bharti Airtel’s net debt at the latter part of 2013 reached US$10.4bn, which may fall following the tower sale, reducing the stress on the company’s balance sheet, the company added. 

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