Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Idea Cellular, Vodafone India to sell towers business to ATC Telecom

Idea Cellular, Vodafone India to sell towers business to ATC Telecom

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/FilesAs part of the merger deal agreed in March, Vodafone India and Idea are selling the masts they own separately from their Indus Towers joint venture.

The statement said that after Vodafone India and Idea have completed their merger, around 6,300 co-located tenancies of the two operators on the combined standalone tower businesses will coalesce into single tenancies over a period of two years without the payment of exit penalties.

Vodafone has been tackling fierce competition in the Indian mobile market and in November past year it revealed a €6.4bn writedown to its division in the nation.

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The deal, which now awaits various regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed next year around March. The company is buying a total of 20,000 telecom towers belong to the two firms that are set a for a merger.

The consolidation in the stressed Indian telecom sector is also being played out in the tower business.

Jim Taiclet, American Tower's Chief Executive Officer, said, "we expect the addition of these two high quality portfolios to be highly complementary to our existing assets and to contribute to long-term leasing growth as India's leading mobile operators accelerate their 4G network deployments". Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd, a unit of Idea Cellular, had around 9,900 towers with a tenancy ratio of 1.80 as of 30 September 2017.

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Vodafone too has sold its tower business in India to ATC Telecom for an enterprise value of Rs 3,850 crore. Further, SG&A associated with the assets is expected to be less than Rs 100 crore for the first year, ATC said.

The telco said its merger with Vodafone India "is on track". During the day, it tanked 5.92 per cent to Rs 91.30.

Idea on Monday reported a consolidated net loss of Rs 1,106.8 crore for the second quarter of the current fiscal.

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"The operating environment for Indian mobile operators remained challenging with unrelenting pressure on pricing", Idea said in a separate statement on Monday.

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