Airtel looks to raise up?to $3 billion to pay up govt dues
05 December 2019
Bharti Airtel will raise up to $3 billion (around Rs21,500 crore) through a mix of equity and debt, as per a proposal approved by its board of directors. The funds so raised will be used to pay estimated dues of Rs35,586 cr to the Department of Telecom.
Bharti Airtel will raise $2 billion through one or more instruments such as a qualified institutional placement, compulsory convertible debentures or other convertible securities, American depositary receipts (ADR) and global depositary receipts (GDR), according to a regulatory filing.
Bharti Airtel also plans to raise up to $1 billion by issuing foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs), and similar security in a foreign currency, or through redeemable non-convertible debentures, it said.
Bharti Airtel informed the exchanges that, for now, the total quantum of funds to be raised would not exceed $3 billion.
The telco has been enabled by the government decision to give more time for the telecom firms to pay up the massive dues arising from the 24 October Supreme Court order over the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) between the DoT and telecom firms.
The SC had asked the firms to pay the dues within three months, but the government granted them more time.
Bharti Airtel owes Rs21,682 crore in licence fee dues and another Rs13,904.01 crore as spectrum usage charges to the DotT. This, however, does not include the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices, which were acquired by Airtel.
Also, on 3 December, the company increased the tariffs on its prepaid voice and data services by up to 47 per cent, a move that will bring in more revenue. Two other private operators, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd have also raised charges by up to 40-42 per cent.
The tariff hike by the three operators is the first of its kind in more than a decade, with years of competition ensuring that prices of calls and data services stay low.
Meanwhile, Airtel and Vodafone Idea have filed a petition in the Supreme court seeking review of the 24 October order.