Bharti Airtel on Saturday said it has received financing commitment of up to $2.5 billion from two Chinese banks to primarily diversify its global portfolio and invest in the growth of data networks across its operations that now span to 20 countries.
Subject to final agreements and requisite approvals, Bharti Airtel can draw the funds from China Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China over a long term, depending on its financing requirements.
"This is the single largest bilateral commitment by China Development Bank to any telecom firm globally and the largest bilateral commitment to a private Indian company," Bharti Airtel said, after the pact was signed in Beijing, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.
"Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has committed $500 million with an average life of about nine years, making it the largest and longest bilateral commitment to an Indian telecom operator."
"It is an endorsement of the long term potential of the Indian telecom sector. Given the availability period of three years, these financings shall further add to the financial flexibility that the company already has," said Rajan Bharti Mittal, vice chairman.
"These shall further extend tenors, enabling investments for furtherance of the Digital India initiative."
In March 2015, Bharti Airtel had announced a strategic collaboration with China Mobile, under which the two companies will work towards growth of long term evolution (LTE) ecosystem and evolve mobile technology standards.
Bharti Airtel also has network equipment sourcing agreements with ZTE and Huawei.
"These financings further complement the strong collaboration with Chinese partners," the statement said.