February 14, 2018 / 10:14 PM / a year ago

Idea Cellular launches up to $546 million share sale

FILE PHOTO: A man speaks on his mobile phone as he sits in front of a shop displaying the Idea Cellular Ltd's logo on its shutter in Mumbai, India, April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian wireless carrier Idea Cellular on Wednesday launched a share sale to institutional investors to raise up to 35 billion rupees ($546 million) ahead of its merger with Vodafone’s Indian business.

Idea, part of the metals-to-financials Aditya Birla conglomerate, intends to use the funds to reduce debt including loans for airwave purchases, it said in a regulatory filing.

Last month Idea announced plans to raise a total 67.5 billion rupees ahead of proposed merger, which the two sides expect to close during the first half of this year.

Idea said that the share sale launched on Wednesday has a floor price of 86.84 rupees per share, with a potential discount of up to 5 percent. The shares closed at 84.80 rupees on the National Stock Exchange.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup are managing the sale.

($1 = 64.0950 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by David Goodman

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