Vodafone to raise stake in Bharti

Vodafone to raise stake in Bharti

Author | Source: Business Standard | Monday, Jul 17,2006 7:20 AM

Vodafone to raise stake in Bharti

Expects share of emerging market in the firm’s global business to double to 30%.

UK-based Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s largest mobile service provider, plans to increase its equity stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures, the Delhi-based telecom company in which it picked up a shade over 10 per cent equity in October last year.

Vodafone sees India as a major market and future growth driver.

Arun Sarin, chief executive officer (CEO), Vodafone Group Plc, said, “We are open to the idea. Let us see...even if we are willing to buy shares, someone else should also be willing to sell.”

Vodafone has made a total investment of Rs 6,700 crore to acquire around 10 per cent stake in Bharti, including the acquisition of shares held by Warburg Pincus. With the final sale of its stake, Warburg Pincus completely exited its position in Bharti Tele-Ventures.

Speaking on the possibility of picking up stake in any other Indian telecom company, Sarin said, “We do not have plans of picking up stake in any other Indian telecom company. Once we are married to a company, we stay with it.”

According to the CEO of the $75 billion group, registering an annual growth of around 5-6 per cent, the share of the emerging market in their global business was likely to double within the next five years.

“Currently, the share of emerging market in our global business is around 15 per cent. In the next five years, it is likely to become 30 per cent and India will be play a major role in it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the company has picked up stake in companies based in South Africa, Czech Republic among others. It also holds a three per cent stake in China Mobile.

Sarin further added, “Our aim is to significantly increase our coverage within the next few years in India. That would require a huge amount of capital.”

According to him, the aim is to increase the coverage from 40 per cent of the customer base to 80 per cent.

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