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BSNL looks to raise Rs15,000-crore loan to stay afloat news
19 January 2012

State-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is looking to raise up to Rs15,000 crore through long-term loans from banks even as the cash-strapped company is weighing various options to raise funds for meeting its working capital needs.

BSNL has appointed SBI Capital Markets to arrange 5-7 year loans, ranging between Rs12,000 crore and Rs15,000 crore, sources close to the development said.

Besides, BSNL has sought a Rs5,000 crore one-time grant from the department of telecommunications as an emergency arrangement as also Rs1,500-core from the USO fund to support rural phones.

DoT, however, is reported to have rejected both these requests.

BSNL's cash position is so precarious that it is finding it difficult to pay salaries to its 3,00,000 employees even. Besides, it has floated global tender for GSM equipment to support 14 million subscribers. This could cost about Rs5,000 crore. BSNL had, earlier, unsuccessfully sought supplier funding of equipment imports.

Alternatively, BSNL may lease its tower and network infrastructure and surrender part of the spectrum, worth around Rs8,500 crore, allocated to it by the government.

BSNL, which had made a profit of Rs4,230 crore in 2005, registered a loss of over Rs6,000 crore during the 2010-11 financial year, mainly due to high staff cost and payments made for acquiring 3G and BWA spectrum.

The BSNL management had also proposed a voluntary retirement scheme for nearly 1,00,000 employees in order to get the company back on track.

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BSNL looks to raise Rs15,000-crore loan to stay afloat