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Airtel rings up Qatar after its profit plunges.

A DAY after reporting its 13th consecutive quarter fall in profits with about 50- per cent slump in consolidated earnings during the January- March quarter, telecom giant Bharti Airtel on Friday said that it will sell five- per cent stake to Doha- based Qatar Foundation Endowment ( QFE) for ` 6,796 crore. The funds will be used to part retire Airtel's ` 64,500- crore consolidated debt.

Airtel said that the deal would strengthen its capital structure and fund future growth plans. The company will issue 199.87 million new shares to QFE at a price of ` 340 apiece, 7.3 per cent higher than Thursday's closing price of ` 316.70.

" We entered into a binding agreement with Qatar Foundation Endowment ( QFE) under which Bharti will issue 199,870,006 of its new shares to QFE representing a share holding of five per cent in the company post issuance of the new shares," the company said in a statement. As a result of the deal, the promoter shareholding in the company may come down marginally. Airtel is jointly promoted by Singapore- based Singtel and group companies of Sunil Bharti Mittal's family.

QFE acting chief executive officer Rashid Al- Naimi said, " As a long- term global investor, our shareholding gives us exposure to a high- growth sector in key emerging markets. QFE looks forward to supporting Bharti in realising the full potential of this world class business." QFE is a long- term global investor with a broad mandate to make direct and managed investment, the statement said.

The purchase by QFE-- an investment vehicle of the Qatar Foundation, controlled by Sheikha Mozah, the second wife of the country's emir-- pushes India ahead of China to top Asia's inbound league table for M& As.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:May 4, 2013
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