By Andy Sambidge
Bahrain telco will reportedly buy 80% stake in Reliance Globalcom as part of overseas push
India's Reliance Communications will reportedly sell as 80 percent stake in its subsidiary Reliance Globalcom to a consortium led by Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco).
The Anil Ambani-owned company is close to a deal worth $1.1bn as part of a series of deals that the Reliance Group proposes to deal over the next couple of months, Times of India reported on Monday.
Reliance Communications, India's No.3 mobile phone carrier by customers, had net debt of about $6.9bn as of December, or more than five times its annualised operating profit, making it the most-leveraged Indian phone carrier.
The agreement would be the latest overseas move by Batelco which wants to expand abroad to offset declining domestic income.
The telco is keen to return to India, despite its former affiliate S Tel being one of eight mobile operators to lose their telecom licences last year as part of a corruption probe.
Informed sources told the paper that the deal with Batelco is expected to be in place by the end of May and the management control of Reliance Globalcom would move to the Bahrain-based company. Private equity firms are part of the consortium led by Batelco.
Reliance Globalcom operations include a fibre business under Yipes in the US, management services business under Vanco in the UK and Flag Telecom.
It provides voice, internet and value-added services.