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Saturday, Dec 13, 2003

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Bharti Tele to acquire 27 pc stake in Hexacom

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New Delhi , Dec. 12

TELECOM behemoth Bharti TeleVentures Ltd, which is seeking to expand its cellular footprint across the country, has reached an agreement with Telesystem (Mauritius) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Telesystem International Wireless Inc (TIW), Canada, to buy its 27.5 per cent equity in Hexacom India Ltd, which operates the cellular licence in Rajasthan.

According to a company statement, the acquisition has been valued at approximately Rs 102 crore ($22.5 million). The agreement is subject to certain regulatory and other approvals and Right of First Refusal with other shareholders.

Hexacom operates the GSM network in Rajasthan and had over 2 lakh customers as on November 30, 2003. While the majority stake in the company is held by Shyam Telecom (40 per cent), Telecom Consultants India (TCIL), a public sector enterprise, holds 30 per cent stake; the remaining is being held by TIW. Once the acquisition is completed, Bharti will be a minority stakeholder.

The company will now seek to buy out TCIL, which for long has been looking to exit the venture.

"If all the conditions as aforesaid are met, the sale pursuant to this agreement is scheduled to close within the next two months. Bharti also intends to consolidate its stake in Hexacom as and when an appropriate opportunity comes its way. This would give Bharti a presence in Rajasthan, thereby expanding its footprint to 16 circles," Bharti has noted in its statement.

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