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India's Bharti Airtel stock surges on Tata mobile unit deal
October 13, 2017 / 6:24 AM / in 10 days

India's Bharti Airtel stock surges on Tata mobile unit deal

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd saw its share price surge as much as 8 percent in early Friday trade as investors cheered its purchase of Tata Group’s mobile arm, in a deal that secures 40 million new clients and spectrum at little cost.

FILE PHOTO: A man packs goods on the back of his bicycle as he stands next to the wall of a grocery shop painted with an advertisement for Bharti Airtel in the southern Indian city of Kochi May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Sivaram V/File Photo

The deal with Tata Teleservices Ltd “is a sweet one for Bharti,” local brokerage Kotak said in research note, raising its recommendation on Bharti stock to “add” from “reduce.”

Bharti shares were up 6.6 percent at 0435 GMT, outpacing the broader NSE index’s 0.5 percent. Shares of Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, a Tata Teleservices unit, were up 9.1 percent.

The deal outlined on Thursday, dubbed “debt-free (and) cash-free”, spares Tata Group the trouble of any potentially drastic restructuring of the money-losing operation.

For Bharti - India’s biggest telecommunications network operator - the deal could protect its lead, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note.

India’s telecoms market has seen rapid consolidation since the entrance of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd sparked a price war.

The Indian unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group PLC and Idea Cellular Ltd, the country’s second and third biggest telecoms firms respectively, have won antitrust approval to merge. In addition, Bharti has agreed to buy the local unit of Norway’s Telenor ASA.

Credit Suisse in a research note said Bharti’s latest deal boosts its market position in the face of a Vodafone-Idea combination, and keeps the two roughly equal in terms of spectrum and revenue.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Rafael Nam and Christopher Cushing

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