The company will raise up to $2 billion in equity and another $1 billion in debt, according to a regulatory filing
Following the high court ruling altering the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), telcos in India were saddled with $13 billion in dues relating to their spectrum licence payments. Of this total, India’s third-biggest telco, Bharti Airtel, was reportedly liable for $3 billion.
Now, following an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) that took place on the 3rd of January, Bharti Airtel’s shareholders have given the company the green light to raise the required $3 billion.
Securities will be issued to raise $2 billion, with the proposal to do so passed with 99.99% of the vote at the EGM.
Similarly, the proposal to issue of foreign currency convertible bonds and unsecured/secured redeemable non-convertible debentures along with or without warrants, to the tune of a further $1 billion, also received 99.99% approval.
Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea propositioned the government for extended payment terms to be attached to the AGR-related dues, but they were told by the Department of Telecoms in December that payments were expected to be made in full within three months.
Airtel now has until the end of this month to begin the repayments.
This announcement will provide some short-term relief for the besieged telco, which finds itself in a battle of tiny margins with similarly squeezed rivals, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio. Nonetheless, Airtel reports a net loss of Rs 23,045 crore (~$3 billion) in Q2FY20, a significant increase from the net loss of the previous quarter, makes the company’s future far from certain.
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