QIA eyes $1.5 billion stake in Reliance Jio Fiber

Reliance Jio| QIA

Sovereign Fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is in advanced talks with Reliance Industries Ltd to invest about $1.5 billion (about $11,200 crore) in an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) that owns the company’s fiber-optic properties.

After raising more than $20 billion by digital asset sales to Jio Platforms Ltd, Mukesh Ambani led Reliance is now trying to monetize its fiber assets owned by Jio Digital Fibre Pvt. Ltd.

Citigroup Global Markets, Moelis & Co. & ICICI Securities Ltd have been employed by Reliance as investment banks for the planned deal with the Qatar Investment Authority.

Last year, Reliance received 25,215 crore investments in InvIT holding its telecommunications tower facilities from a consortium led by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management.

Jio Digital Fibre has a network of 700,000 km of fiber optic cables in India with plans to extend it to 1.1 million km.

In March 2019, Reliance’s telecommunications affiliate Reliance JioInfocomm converted its fiber and tower business to Jio Digital Fibre Pvt. Ltd and Reliance JioInfratel Pvt, Ltd.

According to the new approach, Reliance JioInfocomm will remain the sponsor of the InvIT and hold a minimum stake of 15%, while the remaining 85% will be sold to foreign buyers, including the Qatar Investment Authority.

Qatar’s investment in Jio Fiber follows a recent decision by the Indian tax authorities to exclude tax on sovereign funds investing in India’s infrastructure sector.

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