Qatar Foundation Narrows Range in $1.5 Billion Airtel Offering

Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit run by the gas-rich country’s royal family, has cut the top end of the price range for a sale of Bharti Airtel Ltd. shares that could raise as much as $1.5 billion. 

It is now offering shares of the Indian wireless carrier at 473 rupees to 480 rupees apiece, representing a 6.7 percent to 8 percent discount to its last close, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg on Tuesday. Qatar Foundation has received enough interest to price anywhere within the revised range, and investors placing orders below 480 rupees risk missing out on the deal, the terms show. 

Qatar Foundation was initially marketing its sale of as many as 199.9 million Bharti Airtel shares, representing a 5 percent stake in the company, at 473 rupees to 490 rupees apiece. It will be taking orders until 10 a.m. Hong Kong time, the terms show.

Qatar had to redeploy some of its foreign assets to bolster the local economy and banking system after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties on June 5 and withdrew deposits, accusing the sheikdom of funding terrorism. Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges.

The country’s $320 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has reduced its direct holdings in Credit Suisse Group AG, Rosneft PJSC and Tiffany & Co. in recent months. Qatar has also made some acquisitions since June, most notably Qatar Airways Ltd.’s purchase of a 9.6 percent stake of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., a deal valued at HK$5.16 billion ($662 million).

For more on Qatar’s plan for its foreign assets amid the embargo, click here.

Qatar Foundation built branch campuses for Cornell, Northwestern, Georgetown and other U.S. universities, and its endowment includes 27 percent of Vodafone Qatar and a property development unit that will eventually host most of the financial firms in Doha. The foundation acquired the Bharti Airtel stake for 340 rupees a share in May 2013.

UBS Group AG is placement agent for the Bharti Airtel offering. Qatar Foundation’s Three Pillars Pte affiliate won’t own any shares in Bharti Airtel after the sale, the terms show.

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