Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

India's Bharti eager to go international

India's telecoms market has been agog with the possibility of the Bharti group going international. On Saturday, the group's chairman, Sunil Mittal, admitted that he lacks global capital and that he would go to the international markets to get both equity and debt money.

Mittal sounded eager to make a mark: "We have to manage growth. We will be a 25-million customer company in two years. There are only six companies in the world which have 25 million customers or more, and when I compare myself with those companies we are rather modest and tiny in size and resources."

"We are planning to list ourselves in the American markets. But our vision is to be globally admired for providing telecoms services," Sunil Mittal said.

This would open the doors to over 25 million users in two years for the company (excelling far beyond the registration of 10.2 million new subscribers January this year with its flagship Airtel brand) as it plans to get listed in the US market to attain international recognition and visibility. This is imperative to the much needed access capital for Mittal's expansion plans. An issue of American Depository Rights is on the anvil.

Bharti would not but stop at telecoms alone. It is collaborating with Singapore's Changi airport to float tenders for Delhi and Mumbai's airport modernisation projects. Mittal finds these Indian airports "horribly bad."