Bharti Airtel hits international bond street for 3rd time this year

Country's largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel today hit the international market with a benchmark

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Euro bond offering, merchant bankers said.

The company is offering the five year Euro bonds for investors and the money is being raised through its wholly owned Bharti Airtel International (Netheralnds) BV, sources told PTI.

It had conducted road shows for the bond sale, its third this year, last week in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Merchant bankers had last week said the company is mulling to raise over $ 1 billion through bond sales, ahead of the spectrum auction slated next month.

Bharti could not be reached immediately for comments.

This is the third major bond sale by domestic companies after the May 24 tapering talk by the US Fed, which spiked interest rates in western markets.

The company's arm Bharti Airtel International Netherlands is raising the money, which will be fully guaranteed by the parent company.

According to one I-banker, StanChart, Barclays, JP Morgan, UBS and BNP Paribas are the joint book-runners and lead managers to the issue.

In March this year, the company had raised $ 1.5 billion in overseas debt in two tranches.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings has assigned BBB- ratings to the proposed senior unsecured Euro notes.

Fitch Ratings has assigned Bharti Airtel International Netherlands' proposed notes an expected rating of 'BBB-. The notes will be unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Bharti Airtel, and are therefore rated at the same level as Bharti's foreign currency senior unsecured rating of 'BBB-', Fitch said in a statement issued from Singapore today.

So far this year, companies have mopped up over $ 14.25 billion in overseas debt, with the latest being the $ 500 million issuance by HDFC Bank in October and $ 750 million by ICICI Bank earlier this month.

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