Vodafone Idea’s (Vi) lenders are planning to approach the finance ministry seeking protection against the big blow they will face if the telco is not given some kind of relief against statutory dues, failing which it may collapse.
According to banking officials, public-sector banks that are heavily exposed to the company are particularly worried.
Vi’s lenders are lining up meetings in the coming weeks with the leadership team of India’s only loss-making private telco, seeking clarity over its planned Rs 25,000-crore fundraising, without which sustaining the operations would be doubtful beyond a point, they said.
“It’s quite a shocker … The lenders have held informal discussions and are planning to once again appeal to the finance ministry regarding relaxation on statutory dues,” said a public sector bank official.
The “shocker” that the official was talking about was the Supreme Court verdict on Friday, wherein the top court refused to allow the telco to approach the Department of Telecommunications to correct alleged errors in the department’s calculation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.
Vi had hoped that if the correction was allowed, its AGR dues of Rs 58,254 crore would be reduced to half.
Lenders are also now looking at steps to restructure their terms with Vi. The banks did not respond to ET’s queries till press time Friday.
Lenders say the government will be the biggest loser if
was to go down under, with public sector banks the hardest hit.
The banks had in June also approached the finance minister’s office to raise concerns over the fate of Vi.
“Vi could go down under due to this verdict and the biggest loss would have to be borne by the government and its state-run banks…the court hasn’t even accounted for crores of Vi customers and thousands of jobs that could be lost if the telco goes into bankruptcy,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.