Bharti looks to raise funds to counter Reliance Jio

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NEW DELHI: Engaged in a tariff war with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel has decided to add financial muscle to its operations by raising fresh funds through private placement. The fundraise will be considered at the company’s board meeting on January 24.
Bharti has been facing pressure on margins after Jio launched operations by offering lifetime free voice and limited period complementary data downloads. The board will consider raising of funds by issuing debentures bonds through the private placement route, Bharti said in a note to the stock exchanges.

Analysts said the country’s biggest telecom company will look to create a war chest as it battles the onslaught from Jio’s operations. The new telco has managed to create quite a flutter in the market through its offers and has pegged its customer base at over 72 million since it began operations on September 5.
Jio has also signalled that it will continue to pursue fresh investments in order to maintain an aggressive posturing.Last week, Jio said it will pump in an additional Rs 30,000 crore to boost network. This would be raised through a rights issue and will add to Rs 1.7 lakh crore invested in the telecom venture so far. “In view of unprecedented customer response to Jio’s services as well as to address the anticipated growth in demand for digital services, additional investments are proposed to be made into the network to enhance its coverage and capacity ,” Jio had said.
Jio’s offers have shaken up the telecom industry with established players such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular announcing deep cuts in voice and data tariffs.