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Voda Idea says 'not aware' if Vodafone plans to exit India; dismisses report on reworking debt payment terms

BusinessToday.In     October 31, 2019

Vodafone Idea, the country's largest telecom operator in terms of subscriber base, on Thursday categorically denied and dismissed the speculation that Vodafone might exit its India operations amid mounting losses.

" regards exit of India operations by Vodafone group is concerned, we wish to inform you that the company is not aware about anything on the subject as it pertains to Vodafone group and hence cannot comment on the same," Vodafone Idea said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Earlier today, the exchange had sought clarification from Vodafone Idea with reference to a media report that claimed Vodafone may exit India as losses mount, and the company seeks debt recast.

The company clarified to the exchange that this is baseless and factually incorrect. "We have not made any request for debt recast to any lender or asked for reworking of payment terms. We continue to pay all our debts as and when these fall due," it said in the exchange filing.

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There were speculations in the Indian telecom industry that Vodafone, which is one of the biggest telecom companies in India, may leave the Indian market because its losses are mounting. The British telecommunication major has reported massive losses in this recent financial quarter this year. It reported a net loss of Rs 4,067.01 crore in June quarter of this fiscal compared to a net loss of Rs 2,757.60 crore in the same period last year. Adding to the woes, the company's stock market value has been consistently declining after the merger of Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Also Read: 'Airtel, Voda Idea shedding crocodile tears': Reliance Jio in letter slamming COAI

There were also reports that that Vodafone Idea has approached its lenders for debt recast on which the company issued a clarification on Wednesday. The company said that it continues to pay all its debts as per schedule and has not approached any lender for debt recast. Further, it has called these reports "factually incorrect" and added that it continues to pay the debt as and when dues come.

In a separate development, the Supreme Court on 24 October 2019 upheld the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) provided by the department of telecommunications (DoT), under which Vodafone Idea will have to pay around Rs 28,309 crore in three months time.

Meanwhile, shares of Vodafone Idea closed trade at Rs 3.89, up 2.10 per cent, higher on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Edited by Chitrajan Kumar

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