Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, said that he is “absolutely committed” to Vodafone Idea (Vi), the third-largest private telco in India. Birla told BQ Prime in an interview that the intent right now is to find a partner to come and invest in the company.
Birla said that finding investment right now is not the easiest of things because everyone knows that the company was in trouble. Thus, as per him, finding an investing partner would take some time as people start feeling confident about the business.
Government’s Help Was a Performance Booster
Birla said that the company’s performance quarter-on-quarter seems to be improving, and the government’s relief package was a booster for the entire sector.
He dismissed the rumours that the Aditya Birla Group had given up on the telco by explaining that the group didn’t want to invest further until it could see a return coming, but they had certainly not given up on the business prospects of Vodafone Idea.
In a very realistic manner, Birla said that there are still some issues considering the company had “self-deteriorated”, and it is going to take some time for it to pull back.
Vodafone Idea is currently looking for external investors, and from the words of Birla, it is clear that ABG is still focusing on the growth of the telco. But finding investors has been hard for the company given the state of turmoil it in a few months back.
Despite the relief package, Vi hasn’t been able to start adding new subscribers. The telco’s 4G subscriber base increased by 1.1 million users in the last quarter of FY22. The average revenue per user (ARPU) figure is still not where the telco can turn profitable. Vi needs to start adding new users; otherwise, the company’s plans will stay slightly muted in front of its competitors.