American Tower Corp. is exploring various options for its Indian business, including a potential sale of an equity stake, Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer Rodney Smith said on the company's fourth-quarter 2022 earnings call Feb. 23.
"As always, any decision taken will include careful consideration of the growth opportunity and risk profile in the market going forward, valuation and the optimal portfolio and capital structure mix for American Tower and its stakeholders," Smith said.
The real estate investment trust is facing volatility in collections from troubled operator Vodafone Idea Ltd., its largest customer in India, resulting in American Tower assuming $75 million in revenue reserves for 2023.
Vodafone continued making partial payments in the fourth quarter of 2022 and had committed to paying their billings in full in 2023 and making payments for outstanding balances from prior years in early 2023, Smith said.
Still, the REIT remains committed to India, President, CEO and director Thomas Bartlett said.
"India is a market where they're going to have a higher population than China, if not now, very soon. They have huge penetration, huge data usage. And it's a market that we would like to be able to continue to keep our toe in because we continue to believe that there is significant growth there," Bartlett said.
Management said India has been "volatile," and bringing in a third party via an equity stake sale is one option under consideration, though no decisions have been made yet.
American Tower's customers in India include Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd., according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.