Vodafone To Exit India?

IANS
Thursday, 31 October 2019

The telecom regulatory world is abuzz with feverish talk that the imperilled telecom operator, Vodafone, is ready to exit its India operations.

New Delhi:  The telecom regulatory world is abuzz with feverish talk that the imperilled telecom operator, Vodafone, is ready to exit its India operations.

An email questionnaire was sent by IANS to a Vodafone-Idea spokesperson in India. IANS, in turn, was asked to direct the queries to Ben Padovan, Group Head of Corporate Communications, Vodafone Group Plc.
Vodafone Group did not respond to queries for two days till the time of printing.

There is a buzz in telecom circles that Vodafone is ready to ‘pack up and leave any day now’ as operating losses mount in the joint venture company, Vodafone-Idea, loss of lakhs of subscribers every month and a dwindling market capitalisation which is hurting any fresh fundraising.

“There has been reportage in some media alleging that Vodafone Idea has approached its lenders for debt recast. We categorically deny and dismiss this as baseless and factually incorrect. We have not made any request for debt recast to any lender or asked for the reworking of payment terms. We continue to pay all our debts as and when this fall due,” the company said.

The material event for the company has been the recent SC judgement on AGR under which Vodafone Idea will have to pay around Rs 28,309 crore in three months time.

Following the sharp fall in shares, Vodafone-Idea has clarified to stock exchanges that “SC judgement represents a significant event with respect for the company (sic)”. “We cannot presently comment on the correctness and completeness of the aforesaid figures. The company is studying the judgement and we will evaluate our next steps,” it said.

“The Judgement has financial implications, which we are reviewing. We will engage with the DoT in order for it to consider granting relief, including a waiver on interest and penalties.”

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