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ATC to Buy Tower Assets From Vodafone, Idea for $1.2 Billion
13 November 2017, 10:39 | Brandon Parsons
Idea Cellular’s revenue from operations fell about 20% to Rs7,466 crore
Mint had reported in February that Idea Cellular was in talks to sell its tower assets in two separate deals thereby marking its complete exit from the tower business in which ATC had emerged the frontrunner to buy around 11,000 standalone towers from Idea. Vodafone India will receive Rs. 38.5 billion and Idea will get Rs. 40 billion from the transaction.
Idea said that the broadband data usage (3G+4G) has almost doubled to 413 billion MB in the second quarter from 228.8 billion MB in the first quarter.
The deal also comes as Idea seeks to pay down debt as it prepares to merge with Vodafone India to surpass Bharti Airtel Ltd.as the country's largest phone operator by subscribers.
The standalone tower businesses of Vodafone India and Idea are pan-Indian passive telecommunication infrastructure businesses, comprising a combined portfolio of approximately 20,000 towers with a combined tenancy ratio of 1.65x as of 30 June 2017, the companies said in a joint statement.
Idea and Vodafone had last month entered into an active Infrastructure sharing arrangement to avoid duplication of spends and make the best use of capital expenditure (capex).
India, the world's No.2 mobile phone market, has been rattled by the aggressive pricing of Jio, the telecoms arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries. On consolidated basis, the company reported revenues of Rs 272.40 crore and net worth was Rs 175.80 crore. The approval of shareholders and creditors for the merger has already been taken following a meeting organised by Idea under NCLT's supervision in October, it noted.
The incumbent operators have blamed competitive pressures triggered by the free and disruptive offers of Jio, for the financial stress in the sector.
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