Vodafone Idea to Reallocate Rights Issue Funds for Paying AGR Dues

Currently, the biggest trouble for Vodafone Idea seems to be the Adjusted Gross Revenu (AGR) dues which the telecom operator has to pay before January end. The October 24 order which put a lot of pressure on the telecom companies to pay up massive dues in the name of Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC), license fees and interests also put immense pressure on Vodafone Idea regarding paying of dues which run north of Rs 53,000 crore in total. However, as per a new ETTelecom report, Vodafone Idea will use the Rs 25,000 crore rights issue and will divert some of the funds from there to pay up the AGR dues. Previously, it was decided that the Rs 25,000 crore rights issue was to be used for repayment of loans and the redemption of non-convertible debentures, including interest. But, now the board of directors of Vodafone Idea has decided that Rs 2,826.1 crore will be used from the Rs 25,000 crore rights issue to pay off the AGR dues.

Vodafone Idea Might Just Repay Its Dues

This new move from Vodafone Idea comes after the telecom companies have been awarded a two-year payment moratorium by the Supreme Court for an amount of Rs 42,000 crore. Vodafone Idea has total dues worth Rs 53,000 crore to pay to the DoT and these include the penalties as well and the interest on these penalties. The deadline for the payment of the AGR dues has been set at January 23. Vodafone Idea, remarked on Sunday in its regulatory statement, “The board of directors of the company has, by a resolution dated January 10, 2020, approved the modification to the objects of the rights issue.”

Rights Issue Money to be Reallocated

It was back in last March that Vodafone Idea allotted about 20 billion equity shares (prima facie value of Rs 10 with a premium of Rs 2.50) by way of a rights issue on May 4, 2019, to raise nearly Rs 25,000 crore. According to the initial plan that was charted by Vodafone Idea, a total of Rs 18,674.78 crore was to be used to repay the deferred payment liabilities to the Department of Telecommunications. This amount also included the said Rs 2,826.1 crore which was also to be paid to the DoT out of the total Rs 6,277.1 crore in deferred liabilities and this amount was payable by April 9, 2020.

The relief to the telecom companies came in the form of the payment moratorium of Rs 42,000 crore which eased the cash flow problem by a little for both the companies. The three private telecom operators in the industry, Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, all benefited from it. Vodafone Idea said about this, “The DoT has now granted a two-year moratorium on deferred payment liabilities towards spectrum payments to telecom companies, and hence the amount of Rs 2,826.1 crores earlier earmarked for payment of deferred payment liabilities identified in the letter of offer need not be utilised for that purpose.”

Telcos Still in Search of Relief

Out of all the telecom operators in the industry, Vodafone Idea is the worst-hit one with the AGR dues. While the total dues on the telecom companies for this matter scale up to Rs 1.47 lakh crore, Vodafone Idea has to pay Rs 53,000 crore to the DoT. Bharti Airtel, on the other hand, has to pay Rs 35,500 crore to the DoT for the same reasons. Both the companies have separately filed for a review petition in the Supreme Court to seek some relief in this matter.

Arpit Sharma

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Arpit Sharma