Mumbai: Bharti Airtel on Friday said its tower unit Bharti Infratel has filed papers for an initial public offer with market regulator Sebi and is expected to raise up to USD 1 billion (about Rs 5,500 crore).

"Bharti Infratel, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, has filed its draft Red Herring Prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on September 14, 2012 in relation to its initial public offer of equity shares," Bharti Airtel said in a filing to the BSE.

The IPO will constitute a fresh issue of equity shares by Bharti Infratel and an offer for sale portion by Compassvale Investments Pte, GS Strategic Investments, Anadale and Nomura Asia Investment (IB) Pte, the filing added.

It said, however, the committee of directors, which was looking at the details of listing of Bharti Infratel, has decided not to participate in the offer for sale of equity shares in the proposed issue.

Effectively, it means that Bharti Airtel - the key promoter entity of Infratel - will not participate in the share sale.

Although the company did not say as to how much money it is looking to garner from the IPO, market sources familiar with its plans said it could be in the region of USD 1 billion.

Bharti Infratel has more than 33,000 towers in operation.

Other players in the tower business include Anil Ambani -led Reliance Infratel and Viom Networks — a joint venture between Tata Teleservices and Kolkata-based Quippo Infrastructure.

So far, none of the tower companies is listed in India, although Reliance Infratel had plans to do so.


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