Bharti Airtel’s $1 billion debut worth the wait

Finally, Bharti Airtel crosses the line, attracting strong investor interest in its debut bond thanks to a dearth of Asian telco paper.

Indian telco Bharti Airtel, controlled by billionaire Sunil Mittal, printed a $1 billion debut bond early Tuesday morning, attracting strong investor interest amid a dearth of paper in the telecoms sector.

“Bharti attracted the most investors I have seen for an Indian company in the last two years,” said a banker. “The investor meetings were packed to the gills.”

Investors like the telco sector for its defensive qualities, but, aside from a handful of Asian names such as Indosat, Singapore Telecommunications, PCCW and Optus, there are few bonds.

Bharti’s deal was the biggest single-tranche international bond issued by a telco in Asia, excluding Japan,...

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