Vodafone Idea erases morning gains, ends flat after SC refuses its proposal

Shares of Vodafone Idea erased all its morning gains to end over half a per cent lower at Rs 3.42 on Monday after the Supreme Court rejected the telecom firm's proposal to pay Rs 2,500 crore by the end of the day and Rs 1,000 crore by Friday against Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues, while also refusing its plea that no coercive action be taken against it. READ MORE

Earlier, the stock surged 19 per cent to Rs 4.09 on the BSE after the ailing firm said it would pay its dues linked to AGR in the next few days after assessing the amount.

The Supreme Court had on Friday dismissed the petitions of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea seeking a staggered option to pay their AGR-related dues. Following the SC ruling, Vodafone Idea's stock price had plummeted 19 per cent.

 
On Saturday evening, Vodafone Idea informed that it would pay its dues linked to the AGR in the next few days after assessing the amount. While not specifying how much it would pay out of its total dues estimated at Rs 54,000 crore, the company reiterated that there was uncertainty in continuing as a going concern. The statement came after a board meeting, which discussed the road ahead for the company. READ THE COMPANY'S STATEMENT HERE

“The company is currently assessing the amount that it will be able to pay to DoT towards the dues calculated based on AGR, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in its order dated October 24, 2019. The company proposes to pay the amount so assessed in the next few days,” Voda Idea said in the filing.

Following the development, ICICI Securities suspended its rating on the company. "We believe that given Vodafone’s weak balance sheet and promoters’ earlier statement of their inability to infuse capital, the company is more likely to file for bankruptcy than meet the demand for the dues. We suspend our rating on Vodafone Idea, given this development," the brokerage firm said.

According to the Business Standard report, the company is likely to again seek a staggered payment option at the next Supreme Court hearing in March while asking banks to restructure its Rs 1.2 trillion debt.

In its October 24, 2019, verdict, the Supreme Court had upheld the DoT definition of AGR including non-core services as well, and that meant a total Rs 1.47-trillion bill for telcos towards pending licence fee, spectrum usage charge, interest, penalty and interest on penalty by January 23. The Supreme Court rejected the telcos’ petition to reconsider the order but later agreed to hear their modification plea seeking an option for staggered payments. The SC will hear the case again on March 17.


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel