Indian IPO

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Rel Tower plans IPO to raise Rs 6K cr

Anil Ambani’s appetite for raising funds from the primary market seems to be insatiable. Barely a fortnight after his Reliance Power completed the country’s biggest public issue, another company from the group Reliance Telecom Infrastructure (RTIL) is gearing up to raise nearly Rs 5,000-6,000 crore through an initial public offering.

The company has decided to file the draft red herring prospectus with the market regulator Sebi this week, it is learnt. The list of merchant bankers appointed for the IPO includes J P Morgan, Enam, UBS and ABN Amro.

Bankers close to the development said RTIL will sell nearly 10% of its post-issue share capital through the IPO which will put its valuation more than double of what it achieved in July when it privately placed 5% stake to a group of institutional investors. RTIL, a 95% subsidiary of Reliance Communications (RCOM), sold the stake for Rs 1,400 crore to a host of investors including George Soros, HSBC, Fortress Capital, New Silk, Galleon, DA Capital and GLG Capital in a deal which had put its valuation at Rs 27,000 crore.

Going by the IPO size, the equity valuation of RTIL, a company engaged in the business of building, owning and operating communications towers, will be around Rs 50,000-60,000 crore. This will translate into nearly Rs 250-300 per RCOM share. The RCOM stock closed at Rs 612.15 on Friday on the BSE. When contacted, a spokesperson for the group declined to comment.

RCOM demerged its tower assets in RTIL last year in a move which was followed by most telecom companies in India. RTIL has a presence in all 23 telecom circles in the country. It has a 10-year master services agreement to provide passive telecom infrastructure to RCOM. Additional tenants in the form of external wireless operators on RTIL's towers will provide incremental growth for it.

Bankers found the increase in number of towers responsible for the possible increase in valuation. “RTIL had 14,000 towers across the country when the first stake sale happened in July. Now, it will end up this financial year with 40,000 towers. Also, it plans to add another 20,000 towers next year. With new players getting into the 2G and 3G spaces, the tenancy ratio for every tower is expected to go up to four. In short, the business proposition of the company looks more bright than what it was in July,” said a person related to the developments.

RTIL is putting in an investment of Rs 16,000 crore this year and is expected to pump in Rs 8,000 crore more next year. It has a minimum of four tenancy slots and it is in the process of upgrading this to host seven tenants by 2009. It expects to reach the one lakh tenancy figure this week.

Reliance Power, another R-ADAG group company, last week completed the allotment of shares of its Rs 11,560-crore IPO. The issue helped Reliance Power to became India’s biggest company in terms of the number of shareholders (42 lakh). RNRL had close to 22.3 lakh shareholders at the end of December 2007, followed by the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries with close to 20.6 lakh shareholders. Reliance Communications is the fourth-largest in this list with around 19.8 lakh shareholders. Reliance Petroleum has close to 16.9 lakh shareholders.

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