Viom Networks to raise Rs 1,500 crore for growth plans

Viom-networks

Anticipating a spurt in network roll-out and expansion by telecom operators in near future, tower infrastructure firm Viom Networks is looking to raise Rs 1,500 crore to fund its growth plans.

“Our business is doing very well. To propel the growth for the next two-three years, we need to raise capital. We have indeed appointed Credit Suisse and Citigroup as our bankers to help raise Rs 1,500 crore of primary growth capital,” Viom Networks CEO Syed Safawi told PTI.

He said the option of listing the company in India or abroad is open and the firm will take a final call in the next six months.

“All these are options available, including a potential India listing or an international listing,” Safawi said.

The company is already talking to marquee investors and also parallely understanding and getting more details about the international listing requirement.

“By end of first half on next financial year, we would have clarity on which option we will occupy,” he said.

Safawi said the Indian market is evolving as the last couple of years were not very good for the stock market. But there is some buoyancy in the market and in the next six months, the Indian market is likely to be more receptive to fresh IPOs and than it would be decided if Viom can be listed in India.

Viom Networks, a Tata Teleservices and SREI Infrastructure joint venture, is one of the country’s largest telecommunications infrastructure company with over 90,000 tenancies on 40,000 towers across India.

Tata Teleservices has a 54 per cent stake in the JV, while SREI Group holds 18.5 per cent. The remaining is owned by a group of financial investors, including IDFC Private Equity, SBI Macquarie, Oman Investment Fund and GIC of Singapore.

In 2012-13, the company became profit before tax (PBT) positive for the first time since inception.

Safawi said as there is more clarity on the regulatory front, mobile operators are much more comfortable in investing in spectrum and rolling out networks as against two years earlier.

“Two years back, there was lot of uncertainty, the regulatory environment was not clear…in the last six to nine months, there is much more clarity on the regulatory environment and therefore telcos are much more comfortable investing in spectrum for the next 10-20 years and that gives some confidence to invest behind in network rollout and expansion,” he said.

The government had received bids worth Rs 62,162 crore in the recently concluded spectrum auction for 1,800MHz and 900MHz bands.

He said as many operators now have 4G spectrum in 1,800MHz band, the roll out for 3G and 4G will happen parallely, which will benefit the tower firms.