Vodafone plans India listing; ropes in Rothschild as advisor

Vodafone India, the Indian arm of Vodafone plc, the world's largest telecom company, has appointed UK investment bank N M Rotschild to advise it in a planned listing in India.

Vodafone India had, in December, organised a global investors' and analysts' meet in Mumbai, where it disclosed financials and other operational details and even highlighted potential regulatory risks as a prelude to its IPO plan.

Vodafone India's chief executive Martin Pieters had also made an internal announcement of the parent company's approval for the listing plan.

With a subscriber base on around 146 million, India is one of the largest operations for the Vodafone Group worldwide and an IPO would prove the company's commitment to the Indian market. 

The Vodafone Group, which bought out Hutchison's 67 per cent stake in Hutch Essar, for $11.2 billion to enter the Indian telecom market in 2007, had last year bought out Essar's 30 per cent stake in the company but had since sold a 5.5 per cent stake to Piramal Healthcare for $640 million in order to keep its stake within the prescribed 74 per cent limit.

Rothschild is expected to assist Vodafone India in price discovery and valuation, restructure its shareholding and even appoint bookrunning managers who will manage the final listing process.