Bharti Infratel extends Indus merger deadline to April 24

New Delhi: The board of Bharti Infratel on Monday extended by another two months the deadline for closure of its merger with Indus Towers and said that final decision to implement the deal will take into account the impact of current AGR crisis on the company, shareholders and its major customers.

“Since the other actions/conditions precedent to be fulfilled for the scheme to become effective cannot be completed by the extended long stop date that is February 24, the board of directors has further extended the long stop date till April 24, subject to agreement on closing adjustments and other conditions precedent for closing with each party retaining the right to terminate and withdraw the scheme,” the company said in a statement.

“The final decision to implement the scheme will be taken by the board keeping in mind the best interest of the company and its stakeholders, including the assessment of the crisis facing the telecom industry and the extent of its impact on the company’s major customers,” it added.

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Indus Towers is co-owned by Bharti Infratel, Vodafone Group Plc and Vodafone Idea Ltd with the first two holding 42 per cent each. Vodafone Idea owns 11.15 per cent while the remaining 4.85 per cent is with the private equity firm Providence.

The merger deal announced in April 2018 got the crucial clearance for foreign direct investment late last week.

After Vodafone Idea’s exit, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Plc are expected to hold 37.2 per cent and 29.4 per cent respectively in the merged entity. However, Vodafone Idea needs cash desperately to pay off even a part of its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.

The Supreme Court has given telecom companies time till March 17 to pay the full AGR dues. At 2 pm, the shares of Bharti Infratel were down by 6.24 per cent at Rs 212 on BSE Ltd.

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