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Airtel, Voda Idea shares jump up to 5% ahead of AGR review plea in SC

Shares of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea gained up to 5 per cent in Thursday’s session amid hopes of relief from the Supreme Court against an earlier verdict on adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

India’s top court has listed the limited review petitions by telecom companies against the AGR verdict, which widened the definition of AGR to include non-core revenue, leaving telcos and even non-telcos facing hefty statutory dues of more than Rs 4.45 lakh.

Shares of Bharti Airtel were trading 0.69 per cent higher at Rs 471 around 10 am on BSE. Meanwhile, shares of Vodafone Idea were up 3 per cent at Rs 6.18. The Voda Idea scrip hit intraday high of Rs 6.31, up 5.16 per cent against pervious close.

The review petitions will be heard ‘in chamber’ by the same three-judge bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, which had delivered the October 24 order that backed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The other two members on the bench are Justices AA Nazeer and MR Shah.

The Supreme Court, in its October 24, 2019 ruling, ordered telcos to pay up statuary dues by January 23 following which telcos had sought a limited review of ruling. Telcos, however, didn’t challenge and the entire SC order that widened the definition of AGR. They had also not sought any extension of the three-month payment deadline.

The widened AGR definition — that has been a bone of contention between telcos and the telecom department since 2003 — left 15 telcos, including some that are defunct now, facing more than Rs1.47 lakh crore in dues. Airtel, with dues of over Rs35,500 crore, and Vodafone Idea, which needs to pay more than Rs53,000 crore, are the worst affected. Tata Teleservices, which has sold its consumer mobility business to Airtel, faces dues of Rs 13,823 crore.

Telcos have said that payment of such huge dues would erode their finances and could bring operations to a halt, even as the government has refused to provide any relief unless directed by the court.

Source: Economic Times