ECONOMY

Birla Offers To Give Up Vodafone Idea Stake Amid Worsening Financials

While the telecom company has faced severe financial stress, it has not defaulted on any lender dues, a senior official at State Bank of India said, speaking on conditions of anonymity.

A recent report by ICICI Securities had said that Vodafone Idea had liabilities worth Rs 23,200 crore coming up for repayments within the next 12 months. In comparison, the company’s liquid assets include Rs 350 crore cash and cash equivalents, and land and tax refunds worth Rs 3,000 crore.

The company suffered a net loss for the eleventh straight quarter in the three months ended March. Its net loss widened to Rs 7,023 crore in the January-March period from Rs 4,532 crore in the three months ended December.

Previously, VIL, Tata Teleservices Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd have challenged the Department of Telecom’s math on the dues at the Supreme Court. On July 23, the apex judiciary had dismissed appeals by the telecom companies, stating that no further recalculation of dues would be permitted.

Before the Supreme Court judgement, on July 19, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that he does not have any instructions from the government on the issue and that he would need two days to revert.

In October 2019, the Supreme Court had ruled that non-core revenue must be included while calculating statutory levies, ending a 14-year-old legal battle between mobile operators and the government on the definition of AGR. That had increased the liabilities of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to more than Rs 90,000 crore.

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