Bharti Infratel's up to $830 million IPO fully covered

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:41pm IST

1 of 2. Telecommunication towers are pictured through hanging flower pots at a residential building in Kolkata December 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) -Telecommunications tower operator Bharti Infratel Ltd's initial public offering for up to $830 million, India's biggest IPO in two years, was fully covered on Thursday, boosting the outlook for new share sales.

The Bharti Infratel share sale adds to a busy week for equity offerings in Asia's third-largest economy, with more than $2 billion worth of share deals appearing likely to be closed by Friday after a lacklustre first half of the year.

That strong demand could encourage companies to come to the equity markets early next year with the government at the forefront selling down stakes in state companies.

By 3.20 p.m., demand for Bharti Infratel shares was 1.2 times the number on offer, exchange data showed. Institutional investors had bid for 2.8 times the number of shares reserved for them. The issue closes on Friday.

Bharti Infratel, a unit of top Indian mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS), and four of its private equity investors are selling a total 188.9 million shares, or about 10 percent of the company's equity.

The company has set an indicative price band of between 210 rupees and 240 rupees a share for the offering.

Bharti Infratel would be valued at around a 35 percent discount to U.S. and Indonesian peers based on the EV/EBITDA valuation method, Nomura analysts wrote in a note this week.

India raised $1.1 billion selling a stake in miner NMDC Ltd (NMDC.NS) on Wednesday and Britain's BT Group Plc (BT.L) raised about $187 million by selling its stake in Indian IT services provider Tech Mahindra (TEML.NS).

India's Credit Analysis and Research (CREI.BO) received bids for more than 40 times the number of shares on offer this week in a stock market debut to raise up to $99 million. Jewellery retailer PC Jeweller Ltd's offer of up to $112 million was covered nearly 7 times.

Indian companies raised $12 billion through issuing equity in this year to end November, compared to $8.7 billion in the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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