Vodafone Idea (Vi) received Rs 2000 crore from HDFC Bank, a leading financial institution in India. The fund will help the telco meet all the overdue license fees and 5G spectrum payments, according to an ET report. HDFC Bank has given Vi this loan for two years, and the funds were provided to the telco in mid-September 2023. Vodafone Idea has paid about Rs 1700 crore toward spectrum usage charge (SUC) and Rs 350 crore toward past license fee (LF), the report added.
Vodafone Idea wrote a letter to the telecom department on October 31 saying that they had already made a 10% payment of LF and SUC on October 13, 2023, and the remaining amount for the quarter ending September 2023 will be paid by the end of December 2023 quarter. The report said that HDFC has sounded off the main lenders to the telco, which includes SBI, that in case of any issues with Vi's payments in the future, the repayment to this loan account should not be impacted.
The cash-strapped telecom operator has told the government that it is in advanced-stage discussions with potential investors to raise funds and is hopeful that it will be concluded before the end of the December 2o23 quarter. The telco is so far sticking with its payment plans. If it continues to do so, the telecom department will not invoke the bank guarantees. However, if there are any issues with the payments, then the government will encash the guarantees.
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Vi has paid off the second instalment (Rs 1700 crore) for the 5G spectrum auction it acquired last year. The report said that as per bankers, the issue is not with the bank debt for Vi. The telco has been paying that, but the issue is with the government or the statutory debt. That is the only area where solvency concerns of Vi arise.
The Rs 2000 crore raised by the telco may pose as a confidence booster for the investors that Vi is currently in talks with. It will be interesting to see how the telco navigates through this situation.