Vodafone Idea stock plunges by 12 pc after new SC order

Daniel Fowler
February 15, 2020

Commenting on the ruling, Airtel said that it would pay $1.3 billion by next week and the remainder (about $5 billion) before March 17, when the Supreme Court hears the case again. Later, the apex court bench had set a January 23 deadline for the payment of the dues. They have now approached the court to sit down with the Department of Telecommunications and figure out a payment plan.

On February 14, the court came down heavily on the "temerity" of a desk officer in the DoT for "scuttling" its order seeking payment of past dues by telecom firms such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea by January 23. Who is the desk officer?

"It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country", the bench observed.

DoT's move comes after the Supreme Court on Friday pulled up Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for not paying their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government by 23 January. I am literally anguished.

In response to the decision of SC, chairman of Aditya Birla Group Kumar Mangalam Birla had said that if the government doesn't provide any relief to the company then it will be left with no option but to "shut shop".

The Supreme Court took strong exception to the manner in which a desk officer at DoT had allegedly tried to cut some slack to the cash-strapped, loss-laden telecom companies by asking the country's accountant-general to refrain from adopting coercive steps to recover dues.

"The Company is now assessing the amount that it will be able to pay to DoT towards the dues calculated based on AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue), as interpreted by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in its order dated 24 October 2019".

"This can not happen in this country.We can not function in this fashion".

JFK flights will end February 25
O'Brien said Air Italy , which has been placed into liquidation, did not have any interesting slots for the Irish budget carrier. The airline is 51 per cent owned by Alisarda SpA, a holding company owned by the Aga Khan .

While this translates to a net exposure of about Rs 13,000 crore, a not so substantial amount when the overall non-performing loans are considered in the entire banking system, it said that investor confidence could be impacted and lead to aversion from banks that lend to telcos.

The order today, which may result in United Kingdom telecom giant Vodafone's local joint venture's collapse, saw Vodafone Idea's shares plunge by 23.21%.

Airtel owes almost Rs 35,586 crore, including licence fee and spectrum usage charge, to the government.

It directed the field offices to take "immediate action in compliance with the judgment dated October 24, 2019, of the Supreme Court".

Vodafone Idea is the worst off with its dues assessed at Rs 53,039 crore that includes Rs 24,729 crore in spectrum dues and Rs 28,309 crore in licence fees.

Most of the remaining liability is with state-owned BSNL/MTNL and some of the shut/bankrupt telecom companies. The ruling which allows non-telecom revenues as well, landed Airtel and Vodafone Idea with a bill of ₹35,000 crore and ₹53,000 crore respectively - including interest and penalty. This will help in reducing the total liability on the company, the source added. The company had earlier warned of shutdown if no relief was given on the AGR matter.

It is not known what action will be taken against the telecom companies if they fail to pay their dues by midnight or pay only a part of the sum.

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