Department of Telecom to demand INR 4,700 cr from Vodafone India

Vodafone and existing promoters of Idea will hold 45.1% and 26% of the shares respectively while the balance 28.9% will be held by public shareholders

A fresh demand of INR 4700 cr is reportedly raised by Department of Telecom (Dot) ahead of the merger deal between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. The demand will reportedly be raised from the company before the merger. This will possibly keep the mega merger from being completed by the previous deadline of July 30.

An official source from Vodafone India quoted that the company has debts of around INR 4700 cr related to one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) on the company. The department of Telecom will ask the company to clear their dues or furnish the guarantee before its merger with Idea. In 2015, the firm merged its four subsidiaries Vodafone East, Vodafone South, Vodafone Cellular and Vodafone Digilink with its Mobile Services. It came to be known as Vodafone India. At the time, DoT had asked the cellular network company to clear its OTSC dues worth Rs. 6678 crore at the time of the merge while Vodafone put the demand in the court. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of DoT and Vodafone only had to pay INR 2000 cr to get the Idea merger deal cleared.

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha had asked Dot to voice legal opinion and see if a demand regarding OTSC dues could be sought from the company, for which Dot sent an affirmation. The DoT is still working out the final amount including the interest which will be raised next week. The DoT will also seek bank guarantee of around INR 2100 cr for OTSC dues from Idea.

Idea and Vodafone are looking forward to join their forces in order to create India’s largest telecom company. The companies are planning to close the deal by June 30 this year. The new name of the merger will be Vodafone Idea Ltd. after being approved by shareholders. Estimations state the merger to have more than 40 crore mobile customers from the day of launch and 41% revenue market share.

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