By Manuel Baigorri, Baiju Kalesh and Dinesh Nair
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners is considering the sale of a minority stake in its telecommunications tower business in India, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Canadian investment firm is working with an adviser to sell a stake of more than 10% in the infrastructure investment trust that holds Summit DigiTel, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. A deal would satisfy regulatory requirements around the so-called InvIT structure, the people added.
Investors including pension funds have shown preliminary interest in acquiring the stake, as they seek stable returns and a chance to increase their exposure to the South Asian economy, the people said.
Brookfield and its institutional partners completed their acquisition of the telecom tower unit of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. for about $3.4 billion in 2020.
Deliberations are preliminary and Brookfield may decide against pursuing a sale, the people said. A representative for Brookfield declined to comment.
Summit DigiTel counts a portfolio of more than 151,000 telecom sites, making it one of India’s biggest digital infrastructure companies, according to its website. Reliance Jio is an anchor tenant of the portfolio under a 30-year agreement. Summit DigiTel is owned by Data Infrastructure Trust, an InvIT sponsored by Brookfield, the website shows.
American Tower Corp. is similarly weighing strategic options for its India business including the sale of an equity stake, the company said in an earnings call in February. The real estate investment trust bought about 20,000 towers in the country for about $1.2 billion in 2017.