Government okays Idea’s stake sale to Mauritius firm

October 16th, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) The government Thursday approved the purchase of 20 percent stake in Aditya Birla Telecom (ABTL), a unit of Idea Cellular, by Mauritius-based private equity Providence Equity Partners for $640 million (Rs.2,704 crore or Rs.27 billion). Idea Cellular is the country’s fifth-largest mobile operator and owns licences in Jharkhand and Bihar.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also approved Idea’s plan to transfer to ABTL its 16 percent holding in Indus Towers, a mobile tower company set up as a joint venture with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar.

ABTL will use the funds for expansion activities including network rollout and ongoing operations. The company is expected to launch services in the Bihar circle, an official statement said here Thursday.

The CCEA also approved Idea Cellular’s proposal to transfer to ABTL its 16 percent holding in mobile tower company Indus Towers.

ABTL also holds 50,000 equity shares of Idea Cellular Towers Infrastructure Ltd.

Indus Towers is a joint venture firm between Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar and Idea Cellular that owns 70,000 base transceiver stations, of which 12,000 belong to Idea Cellular.

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