India will own almost 36% in , the country’s third-largest wireless phone operator, after its board approved conversion of dues into equity.
This makes the government the single largest shareholder in the telecom firm. “…it is expected that the Government will hold around 35.8% of the total outstanding shares of the Company, and that the Promoter shareholders would hold around 28.5% (Vodafone Group) and around 17.8% (Aditya Birla Group), respectively,” said the telco in a regulatory exchange.
These decisions come on the back of telecom relief package announced by government in September which included spectrum payment moratorium, option to convert interest on airwaves into equity, reduced bank guarantees amongst others.
This rescue plan, according to a Bloomberg report, was crucial for Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between the Vodafone Group and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s conglomerate, which has been losing customers to bigger rivals. Its financial health deteriorated after Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. sparked a brutal price war in 2016, and quickly clinched market share to become the top player.