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Rediff.com  » Business » GTL to buy back FCCBs, shelves acquisitions

GTL to buy back FCCBs, shelves acquisitions

December 12, 2008 09:07 IST

Telecom infrastructure major GTL Infrastructure will use its Rs 2,200 crore (Rs 22 billion) cash reserves to buy back foreign currency convertible bonds.

GTL Infrastructure had come out with a $300 million FCCB in November 2007, which was lead managed by Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank. This was oversubscribed by 4.41 times, with 93 global investors participating with confirmed orders of over $1.102 billion.

This FCCB is due for redemption in November 2012 and can be converted into shares at Rs 53.04 per share.

Out of the total $300 million raised, GTL Infrastructure had earlier converted $52.7 million at a conversion price of Rs 53.04 per share.

The move to repurchase FCCBs follows the recent Reserve Bank of India ruling that permitted premature repurchase of such bonds through rupee resources provided the amount of buyback is limited to $50 million and the resources are drawn out of the company's internal accruals.

Last month, the central bank had allowed companies to prematurely buy back FCCBs financed by their foreign currency resources held in India or abroad. GTL had earlier planned to use funds raised through the FCCB issue for its expansion plans including acquisitions. However, due to the prevailing global financial turmoil, GTL Infra has deferred its acquisition plans. According to sources, the company has put acquisitions on hold "for want of right valuations".

When contacted, a company spokesperson declined to comment on both FCCBs and deferment of acquisitions.

Earlier, GIL was in advanced stages to negotiations to acquire  Essar Group's tower company - Essar Telecom Infrastructure - for an estimated $1.5 billion (Rs 6,000 crore).

GTL Infrastructure has a portfolio of 7,364 towers across 17 circles in the country. At present, GTL Infra services seven national level and one regional level telecom operators, and has entered into long-term contracts of 10-15 years.

Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
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