Macquarie Buys Into Viom Networks

(Reuters) – Viom Networks, previously known as Quippo-WTTIL, said on Wednesday SBI-Macquarie Infra Fund has bought about 11 percent stake in the firm for $304 million.

SBI-Macquarie Infra Fund bought the stake from Quippo Telecom Infra, the firm said in a statement.

Viom Networks, a joint venture between India’s Tata Tele and Quippo Telecom, was in talks with many investors including Macquarie-SBI Fund, set up by Australia’s Macquarie and State Bank of India.

Viom, which now has 37,000 towers with 80,000 tenants, plans to add up to 25,000 towers in the next two years, the company said.

Carriers in India’s cut-throat cellular sector, also the world’s fastest-growing with more than 600 million users, have been shedding their tower businesses and renting capacity to cut debt and lower costs.

Reliance Communications in June agreed to merge its towers business with that of GTL Infrastructure Ltd to create what it said would be the world’s largest telecoms infrastructure firm.

Demand for tower assets is set to increase as winners in a recent licence auction start to roll out third-generation services.

($1=46.6 rupees)

(Reporting by Pratish Narayanan; editing by Malini Menon)