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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bharti Airtel raises $1.8 bln via loan - source

Telecom major Bharti Airtel raised 85 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) through a six-year syndicated loan facility to pay for its 3G spectrum, a senior source involved in the transaction said on Tuesday.

"The money was raised at 8.5 percent," the source, who did not wish to be named, told Reuters, adding that the proceeds would be used to pay for acquiring a license from the government for third-generation mobile spectrum.

A Bharti spokesman declined to comment.

Lenders in the transaction were Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, Housing Development Finance Corp, Infrastructure Development Finance Company, Kotak Mahindra Bank and State Bank of India, the source said.

Seven Indian mobile carriers including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, and Reliance Communications won spectrum in an auction that ended on May 19 after 34 days of bidding that far exceeded forecasts.

The winners must pay the government for the license by May 31. The auction yielded the Indian government 677 billion rupees in revenue, nearly twice what it had expected.

Bharti, one-third owned by SingTel, is paying about $2.6 billion for 3G spectrum but India's top carrier said it fell short of its objective of securing a pan-India footprint due to high prices.

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