GTL Infrastructure Ltd, which had signed a definitive agreement to purchase telecom tower business of Aircel Ltd and its subsidiaries, has received High Court of Chennai approval for the acquisition. The approval includes transfer of 17,500 telecom towers and 21,000 active tenants. The transaction will make GTL Infrastructure the world’s largest independent tower company with a portfolio of more than 32,500 towers across all 23 telecom circles after the completion of the deal.
The agreement was subject to regulatory and other approvals. The combined footprint of GTL Infra and Aircel will help new second generation (2G), third generation (3G) and Broadband and Wireless Access (BWA) operators to launch their services immediately.
The transaction is transformational for GTL Infra and will enable it to target a tower base of over 50,000 by FY 2013, pan-India presence across all the 23 telecom circles and a tenancy of 2.3 per tower by FY 2013.
GTL Infra, has structured the transaction through a Special Purpose Vehicle, to purchase Aircel’s 17,500 existing towers, comprising 21,000 tenancies. In addition to the existing towers, Aircel will also commit 20,000 tenancies over a three-year period. On completion of this roll-out, GTL Infra is expected to have a portfolio of more than 50,000 towers across India.
Aircel is the fifth largest GSM mobile service provider in India, with over 31 million subscribers. Aircel is promoted by Maxis Communications Berhad, which has a telecom presence in Malaysia, Indonesia and India, and the Apollo Hospitals Group, a première healthcare provider in India.
GTL Infra has been advised Citi and Barclays as financial advisors for this transaction. Nomura, Rothschild and Standard Chartered were the advisors to Aircel.