Vodafone to file prospectus for Indian listing in August

Honkong, June 23: Vodafone Group  is likely to file a draft prospectus for a planned listing of its Indian business in August ahead of a market debut in the fourth quarter, in a deal expected to raise as much as $2.5 billion, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Vodafone’s plans come against the backdrop of an 18 percent rise in India’s broader share market index in the past four months, which has boosted the outlook for new share sales in the near-term.

The company had been expected to aim for early next year for the listing, set to be India’s biggest since 2010.

The British telecoms group, India’s largest mobile operator after Bharti Airtel , has begun work on the prospectus that would include the Indian division’s financial results for the first half of the calendar year, the people said.

Vodafone hired Bank of America Corp , India’s Kotak Investment Banking, UBS AG  in April as global coordinators for the initial public offering.

Europe’s biggest mobile telecoms group also hired Deutsche Bank AG , HSBC Holdings Plc  and ICICI Securities, part of India’s ICICI Bank to help with the offering.

A London-based Vodafone spokesman declined to comment on the timeline, saying the potential India IPO was a lengthy process and no decision would be made until the company was at the end of it.

Sources, who declined to be identified as the information is not public, said that the exact timing of the IPO would depend on local stock market conditions.

Vodafone had first raised the prospect of a listing in India as early as 2011. The company said in November last year it had started preparations for a float.

Vodafone, one of the largest corporate investors in Asia’s third-largest economy, is expected to use the proceeds to buy additional radio spectrum and further expand its operations across India’s crowded market.

The British company entered India in 2007, when it bought a majority stake in Hutchison Essar. Since 2014, it has wholly owned the Indian business, which operates in a market that has over a billion mobile users – the second-biggest global market behind China.

Vodafone’s India business had 198 million subscribers as of end-April, with about a 19.1 percent share of the total market, according to data from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

In the financial year ended March 31, the Indian business reported 5 percent growth in its total revenue to 449 billion Indian rupees ($6.68 billion), while its net debt stood at about 815 billion rupees.

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