Theweekendleader

Bharti Infra-Indus merger deadline extended to Feb 24

New Delhi

24-December-2019

Bharti Infratel on Tuesday extended the long stop date for its merger with Indus Towers till February 24 as it has not received the government's nod for its proposed merger.

This is the second extension of the deadline after it was stretched to Decembr 24 from the first scheduled long stop date of October 24.

"The Board of Directors have further extended the long stop date till February 24, 2020, subject to the agreement on closing adjustments and other conditions precedent for closing, with each party retaining the right to terminate and withdraw the scheme," Bharti Infratel said in a regulatory filing.

It further said that the completion of merger is contingent upon receipt of requisite regulatory approvals and fulfilment of other conditions precedent and there can be no assurance that the merger can be completed within the extended time-frame.

The merger which was proposed over a year ago to create a company with over 1,63,000 towers, had received a clearance from the Chandigarh bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in early June. It has since been awaiting a nod from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for enhancement of foreign direct investment limit.

Indus Towers is a joint-venture between Bharti Infratel, Vodafone Group and Vodafone Idea, with the former two holding 42 per cent each. Vodafone Idea has 11.15 per cent and the remaining 4.85 per cent is with private equity firm, Providence.

Bharti Airtel owns a majority stake of 53.51 per cent in Bharti Infratel.The crucial merger, which is expected to help loss-making telecom companies Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea sell stake to raise funds.

Vodafone Idea owes Rs 54,000 crore as adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues while Bharti Airtel owes 43,000 crore.

In all, the telcos owe Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the government as AGR dues, which has to be paid by January 23.IANS