Markets

Idea Cellular, Vodafone India to sell towers business to ATC Telecom

Idea Cellular, Vodafone India to sell towers business to ATC Telecom

The tower deals with ATC are likely to be completed by June 2018.

ATC Telecom Infrastructure is majority owned subsidiary of American Tower Corporation.

"The aggregate cash consideration for the transactions is expected to be Rs 78.5 billion, or approximately $1.2 billion at current exchange rates, subject to customary closing adjustments", said the U.S. based tower company that had earlier acquired Viom Networks, another Indian tower company. Further, SG&A associated with the assets is expected to be less than Rs 1 billion (approximately $10 million) for the first year.

The statement said that after Vodafone India and Idea have completed their merger, around 6,300 co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined standalone tower businesses will coalesce into single tenancies over a period of two years without the payment of exit penalties. Reliance Jio, in which Ambani has invested $20 billion, launched its services in September.

"This transaction follows the Vodafone India/Idea merger announcement of March 20, 2017 whereby the parties announced their intention to sell their individual standalone tower businesses to strengthen the balance sheet of the combined business", it said.

Bharti Infratel, which was earlier touted as one of the potential buyers for Idea and Vodafone towers, recently brought on board private equity investors KKR and CPPIB.

Vodafone will net $592m from the deal with Indian partner Idea Cellular receiving $615m. Idea would get 40 billion rupees from the deal, while Vodafone will get the remainder, the company said.

In a joint statement, the two companies said Idea will sell its entire holding in Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd (ICISL) while Vodafone will divest its business undertaking to ATC Infra. The transactions are expected to be immediately accretive to AFFO per share, are subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval and are expected to close in the first half of 2018.


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