Airtel receives $2 bn from China Development Bank

NEW DELHI: India’s top telco Bharti Airtel has received financing commitments of up to $2 billion from China Development Bank, which is the single largest bilateral commitment by the bank to any telecom operator globally and the largest bilateral commitment to a private Indian company.

These financing options will allow the company to diversify its global financing pool and access funds to invest in the growth of data networks across its global operations.

The company signed the term sheets for the financing options in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on an official visit to China.

China Development Bank has committed financing of up to $2 billion with an average maturity of about nine years. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has committed $500 million with an average life of about nine years, making it the largest and longest bilateral commitment to an Indian telecom operator, a company statement said.

Subject to final agreements and requisite approvals, Bharti Airtel can draw these funds over a long availability period, depending on its financing requirements, a company release said.

Rajan Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises, said, “We are pleased to sign these agreements as part of
the growing economic cooperation between India and China. It is an endorsement of the long term potential of the Indian telecom sector. Given the availability period of three years, these financings shall further add to the financial flexibility that the company already has. These shall further extend tenors, enabling investments for furtherance of the Digital India initiative.”

In March 2015, Bharti Airtel had announced a strategic collaboration with China Mobile, under which, the two companies will work towards the growth of the LTE ecosystem and evolving mobile technology standards.

Bharti Airtel also has network equipment sourcing agreements with ZTE and Huawei. These financings further compliment the strong collaboration with Chinese partners.

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