UTI, Nippon India MF create separate portfolios for Voda Idea AGR debt

Of these, the hybrid bond fund has the largest exposure at Rs 112.9 crore or 3.15 per cent of net assets.
The UTI Mutual Fund (MF) and Nippon India MF has decided to create side-pockets or separate portfolios in their schemes holding the stressed debt paper of Vodafone Idea, which was downgraded to below-investment grade on Monday by Care Rating.

In a note on Monday, UTI MF said, "Pursuant to downgrade of debt instruments of Vodafone Idea to ‘BB-’ (i.e. ‘below investment grade’) ... UTI MF proposes to create a segregated portfolio in respect of debt securities of Vodafone Idea in UTI Credit Risk Fund, UTI Bond Fund, UTI Regular Savings Fund, UTI Dynamic Bond Fund and UTI Medium Term Fund effective from February 17, 2020".

The move is subject to approval from the board of trustees.

UTI MF had debt exposure of Rs 186 crore to Vodafone India, according to the fund house's note. As a percentage of scheme assets, the largest exposed scheme of the fund house was the UTI Credit Risk Fund (5.09 per cent), followed by UTI Bond Fund (3.91 per cent).

In its note Nippon India MF said that it proposed to create segregated portfolios in three of its schemes -- Nippon India Strategic Debt Fund, Nippon India Credit Risk Fund and Nippon India Hybrid Bond Fund.

Of these, the hybrid bond fund has the largest exposure at Rs 112.9 crore or 3.15 per cent of net assets. The fund house had exposure of Rs 227.3 crore in these schemes.

On Monday, Care Ratings downgraded the long-term bank facilities and non-convertible debentures of Vodafone Idea to BB- (with negative implications), citing " significant erosion in the overall risk profile of the company while taking into cognizance of the financial impact of no relief being granted on modification plea on 14th February 2020 of telecom companies (telcos) seeking new schedule of Adjusted Gross Revenues (AGR) dues by Hon’ble Supreme Court (SC) and significant losses to the tune of Rs 6,453 crore in Q3FY20".

A query sent to Birla Sun Life MF -- which had Rs 253 crore exposure (as of Jan 31, 2029) -- didn't elicit any response at the time of going to press.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had ordered the telecom firms -- Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea -- to clear dues by midnight. The apex court rapped the telecom players as well as officials of Department of Telecommunications (DOT) for the delay in depositing of the due payments.

The court also questioned DOT official's orders that no coercive action should be taken against the telecom players with respect to the AGR dues.

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