Tata Sons is looking to infuse over Rs 36,000 crore in Tata Teleservices in a move to bolster the ailing telecom operator's balance sheet, following the exit of NTT Docomo's exit from the company, Times of India reported. The investment would be either through the equity route or by providing corporate guarantees to TTSL for its borrowing programme. This investment will be the largest infusion by Tata Sons in an operating Tata company this year.
Tata Tele has been continuously receiving financial and managerial support from Tata Sons. The promoters have made large investments in Tata Tele to funds its losses as well as for capital expenditure.
Along with the announcement of the deal with Bharti Airtel for the sale of its consumer wireless business on a cash free debt free basis, Tata Sons has committed to infuse in FY18, Rs 20,000 crore into Tata Tele to largely repay a part of its term loans as well as to meet its other liabilities.
The demonstrated support and commitment of funds from Tata Sons is credit positive for Tata Tele. The ratings of Tata Tele centrally derive comfort from the support of Tata Sons, Care Ratings said.
Care Ratings, however, said that Tata Teleservices could see a reduction in their cost of borrowing. The agency also revised rating grades for different loan facilities, using which it had raised Rs 6746.11 crore earlier. "The revision in the ratings on the bank facilities of Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited (TTML) factors in the demonstrated and continued support from Tata Sons," it added.
The agency further said that Tata Sons will work with TTSL (TTSL and TTML) in case it needs to organize for any shortfall in liquidity, to meet external liabilities in a timely manner, as may be required.
"The ratings on the bank facilities of TTML continue on ‘Credit Watch with Developing Implications’ on account of the announcement by TTML and Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) to combine their consumer telecom business with Bharti Airtel Limited," It added.
The loss-making Tata Tele will use the money received from the Airtel deal to clear its debt, which stands over Rs 40,000 crore, including deferred spectrum fees of Rs 9,500 crore, according to various media reports.
Care said that the ratings continue to factor in the financial flexibility enjoyed by the company by virtue of being part of the Tata group. The rating strengths are, however, tempered by continued losses, high leverage position on account of significant debt-funded capital expenditure and intense competition in the industry.
"Ability of the company to timely complete the sale of its consumer telecom business and stem losses in the face of intense competition and continued support from the Tata Group remain the key rating sensitivities," it added.