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Voda Idea gearing up to 'compete in the market'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 22, 2021 21:23 IST
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Vodafone Idea will seek board approval afresh to raise funds after the government issues detailed guidelines on telecom reform measures, and its promoters will get a chance to participate in the fundraising round, a top company official said on Wednesday.

Vodafone Idea MD and CEO Ravinder Takkar told PTI that the company is gearing up to invest in the business and compete in the market.

He said when the actual guidelines are issued by the government, then the company will update its business plans accordingly.

 

"We expect those to come out in the next few days. On that basis, how much funding is needed, what amounts are needed, what type of funding is needed will emerge.

"Obviously we will have to then take it to our board to get the approvals.

"I see all those steps happening in coming days and weeks starting with the clarity from the government on the details and guidelines of the package," he said.

Vi board had earlier approved a fundraise of up to Rs 25,000 crore but it has been unable to finalise any investor as of now.

Its promoters  -- Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone -- had earlier declined to invest further in the company.

They have not clarified their stance post announcement of telecom reforms by the government.

Asked if the company had been approached by investors, Takkar said they will have a chance to invest in the fundraise after the board approves it but the government reforms have answered all questions that investors had raised.

"We have been engaged for several months now... engaged in the fund raising process.

"As we have gone through this process, few things have been very clear to us.

"There is a lot of interest from these investors in investing in India.

"There is interest in our sector," Takkar said.

The Union Cabinet last week approved a big-bang relief package for the stressed telecom sector that includes a four-year break for companies from paying statutory dues, permission to share scarce airwaves, change in the definition of revenue on which levies are paid and 100 per cent foreign investment through the automatic route.

The measures, aimed at providing relief to companies such as Vodafone Idea that have to pay thousands of crores in unprovisioned past statutory dues, also include the scrapping of Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for airwaves acquired in future spectrum auctions.

"We will survive and we will always be present.

"There have always been sceptics and there have been people who have been saying this is not possible.

"There is no doubt we are going to be in the market, there is no doubt that we will be competing.

"There is no doubt that this is going to be a three player market with Vodafone Idea continuing to survive and compete in the market," Takkar asserted.

He further said the government reform measures have given industry confidence that tariffs can increase.

"Without any intervention from the government, the industry can manage price increases which I think it will.

"I certainly see it happening in a short period of time. I think it will be gradual but it will start to take place," he said.

Photograph: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo

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