Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Market Now: Bharti Airtel, Tata Tele drag BSE Telecom index down

Bharti Airtel Ltd is now trading at Rs 490.75, down by Rs 23.6 or 4.59% from its previous closing of Rs 514.35 on the BSE.

Another reason for a cut in stake by the Qatari investor could be to withstand pressure on its economy, which has been hit by economic sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since early June.

The country's $320 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has reduced its direct holdings in Credit Suisse Group AG, Rosneft PJSC and Tiffany & recent months. A spokesman for the Bharti Group declined to comment on the Qatar stake sale. The block represented 4.62% of the paid-up share capital of Bharti Airtel.

"We are delighted to have partnered with Bharti Airtel through an important stage of their growth. We remain firm supporters of the Bharti Airtel business, the management team and their strategy, and wish them well in the future", said Rashid Al-Naimi, Chief Executive Officer of QFE in a statement. Given the sale price of Rs 481 per share, the sale of this stake realises a significant gain for TPPL.

The S&P BSE Telecom index was trading almost 2 per cent down in Wednesday's morning trade as the index heavyweight Bharti Airtel cracked over 5 per cent.

The price, however, is far higher than the Rs340 Three Pillars paid for the shares in 2013. With this transaction, Bharti Telecom's stake in Airtel increased to 50.1% from 45.48%. The stake sale also comes at a time when the Indian telecom market has seen an intense tariff war triggered by the entry of aggressive newcomer Reliance Jio.

"The company has received a communication dated 3 November 2017 from Bharti Telecom, the promoter of the company that it has acquired 184,710,183 equity shares of the company from Indian Continent Investment", Bharti Airtel said in a BSE filing.

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