Bharti Airtel on Thursday said it had sounded its bankers for funds to pay for the acquisition of Africa operations of Kuwait-based Zain telecom, thus moving a step closure towards concluding the $10.7-billion deal.

“Further to our announcement on March 30 regarding the proposed acquisition of Zain Africa, Bharti Airtel is pleased to report that it has initiated the funds drawdown for the completion of the said transaction,”

Bharti Airtel said in a statement. Bharti Airtel has asked its bankers to be ready for the funds transfer as and when the acquisition takes place.

Ties up with banks

In March, Bharti Airtel had tied up $8.3 billion from State Bank of India and some foreign banks to fund the acquisition of Zain telecom's African assets.

On completion, Bharti would be required to pay another $700 million to Zain after a year, while taking a load of $1.7 billion debt associated with the African assets, the release added.

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