Kumar Mangalam Birla proposes to hand over stake in Vodafone Idea to govt – BusinessToday

Clipped from: https://www.businesstoday.in/industry/telecom/story/kumar-mangalam-birla-proposes-to-hand-over-stake-in-vodafone-idea-to-govt-303072-2021-08-02

Birla said investors are not willing to invest in the company in the absence of clarity on AGR liability, adequate moratorium on spectrum payments and floor pricing regime above the cost of service.

The billionaire businessman made the offer in June in a letter to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba (Source: PTI)The billionaire businessman made the offer in June in a letter to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba (Source: PTI)

Aditya Birla group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has offered to hand over his stake in debt-laden Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) to the government or any other entity that the government may consider worthy to keep the company operational.

The billionaire businessman made the offer in June in a letter to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba.

According to official data, VIL had an adjusted gross revenue (AGR) liability of Rs 58,254 crore out of which the company has paid Rs 7,854.37 crore and Rs 50,399.63 crore is outstanding.

VIL alongwith Bharti Airtel had approached the Supreme Court for correction in the government calculations but their plea was rejected.

In the letter, Birla, who holds around 27 per cent stake in VIL, said investors are not willing to invest in the company in the absence of clarity on AGR liability, adequate moratorium on spectrum payments and most importantly floor pricing regime above the cost of service.

Without immediate active support from the government on the three issues by July, the financial situation of VIL will come to an “irretrievable point of collapse,” Birla said in the letter dated June 7.

“It is with a sense of duty towards the 27 crore Indians connected by VIL, I am more than willing to hand over my stake in the company to any entity- public sector/government /domestic financial entity or any other that the government may consider worthy of keeping the company as a going concern,” Birla said in the letter.

There were no immediate comments from either Aditya Birla group or VIL on the issue.

Further, it could not be ascertained whether there were any other communications between Birla and the government after the June 7 letter.

In September 2020, VIL had received approval from its board to raise up to Rs 25,000 crore. However, the company has not been able to raise the funds so far.

According to Birla”s letter, VIL has not yet approached any Chinese investors. Foreign investors, mostly non-Chinese, are hesitating in making investment in the company for understandable reasons, he added.

VIL”s gross debt, excluding lease liabilities, stood at Rs 1,80,310 crore as of March 31, 2021. The amount included deferred spectrum payment obligations of Rs 96,270 crore and debt from banks and financial institutions of Rs 23,080 crore apart from the AGR liability.

Also Read: No free SMS for prepaid users under Rs 100: What Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea recharge plans are offering now

Also Read: Vodafone Idea launches new postpaid plans for corporate customers

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