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India's Bharti Airtel to raise $2.8bn as it readies 5G rollout

Company also looks to gain from possible downfall of rival Vodafone Idea

Airtel's unexpected rights issue has led market participants to speculate over its reasoning, such as the need to raise funds to expand its network or absorb customers from troubled Vodafone Idea.   © Reuters

MUMBAI -- India's No. 2 wireless telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, has said it will raise 210 billion rupees ($2.85 billion) via a rights issue, as it builds up its war chest to strengthen its network and prepare for the rollout of 5G technology.

On Aug. 29, the board of Bharti Airtel approved the rights issue, under which eligible shareholders will receive one share for every 14 shares they hold. The price is set at 535 rupees per share, including a premium of 530 rupees per share, Bharti Airtel said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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