Vodafone Idea exploring option to monetise data centres

Vodafone Idea exploring option to monetise data centres

Reuters file photo

Debt-ridden telecom operator Vodafone Idea on Friday said it is exploring to monetise data centres as part of the company's debt reduction plans.

Apart from data centres, Vodafone Idea (VIL) plans to monetise its 11.15 per cent stake in Indus Towers on completion of the Indus Towers-Bharti Infratel merger and is also exploring options to monetise nearly 1.6 lakh kilometres of intra-city and inter-city fibre as well as data centres.

"Separately, we are also exploring opportunity to monetise our data centres. We believe this will provide us financial flexibility," Vodafone Idea MD and CEO Ravinder Takkar said.

Gross debt on Vodafone Idea as of September 30, 2019, was Rs 1,17,300 crore including deferred spectrum payment obligations of Rs 89,170 crore to the government.

Vodafone Idea on Thursday reported a consolidated loss of Rs 50,921 crore -- the highest ever loss posted by any Indian corporate -- for the September quarter on account of liability arising out of the Supreme Court's order in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case.

The company has estimated liability of Rs 44,150 crore post the apex court order, and made provisioning of Rs 25,680 crore in the second quarter this fiscal. The company also set aside Rs 4,822 crore for certain assets that it may not be able to use due to shifting of network from 3G to 4G technology.

Vodafone Idea also derecognised the deferred tax assets amounting to Rs 13,940 crore recorded up to June 30, 2019.

The Supreme Court, last month, ruled in favour of the government and directed telecom companies, including Vodafone Idea, to pay dues as demanded by the Department of Telecom.

Vodafone Idea has said its ability to continue business will depend on relief sought from the government and positive outcome of the legal option it has (filing of a review petition).

It said the company, through the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), has made representations to the government to provide relief to the telecom sector.

This includes request to not press for the AGR liability payment and grant waivers, not levying spectrum usage charges (SUC) on non-licenced revenue, reduction of licence fee and SUC rates and use of GST credit for payment of government levies.

The industry body has requested the government to allow payment to be made in installments after some moratorium, and grant a moratorium of two years for the payment of spectrum dues beyond April 1, 2020 up to March 31, 2022.

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