Vodafone Idea plans to dial up growth
Ailing VIL to remain 3rd telecom player; Awaits board approval for fund raising
New Delhi: Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) will seek board approval afresh to raise funds after the government issued 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. VI's MD and CEO Ravinder Takkar said that the company is gearing up to invest in the business and compete in the market.
"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 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 Vodafonehad 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 in the fund-raising process. Through the 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.