Vodafone Idea transfers fibre network assets to subsidiary

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After Merger With Vodafone Group, Idea Cellular Becomes ‘Vodafone Idea Limited’

KOLKATA: Vodafone Idea (VIL) has transferred its fibre network assets to a wholly-owned unit within the run-up to their early sale geared toward bringing in more money that it desperately wants to tackle competitors from Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio).

Vodafone Idea CFO Akshaya Moondra said the company has moved its fibre (assets) to a wholly owned subsidiary, and a potential sale would help release capital (into the core mobility business) and reduce future capex investment,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch mentioned in a observe to shoppers, a replica of which was reviewed by ET.

A prime VIL govt had shared the standing of the deliberate monetisation of fibre network assets at a current analysts meet, the brokerage mentioned.

“Segregation of fibre assets sets the stage for VIL to engage in active discussions with potential buyers, which could culminate in a fast-track hive-off of the fibre business,” an individual accustomed to the matter advised ET.

At press time, Vodafone Idea didn’t reply to ET’s queries.

Earlier this month, Vodafone Idea—born out of a current merger of Vodafone India and Idea cellular—introduced plans to monetise its sizeable fibre assets alongside plans to prepare a Rs 25,000-crore fairness fund-raise to bolster its stability sheet and meet future capex wants to increase 4G protection in its efforts to meet up with Jio and Bharti Airtel.

The embattled market chief is beneath intense monetary stress, having posted a whopping Rs 4,974-crore loss with an Ebitda (earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) margin of simply 8.1% within the September quarter, elevating issues about its capacity to service debt that has ballooned to over Rs 1.15 lakh crore. It wants money to not simply repay debt however to put money into increasing its 4G network.

Earlier this month, VIL chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla met prime finance ministry officers, flagging off the corporate’s woes and warning of a default on spectrum-related funds which fall due in March 2019.

An analyst at a number one overseas brokerage estimates the valuation of VIL’s fibre assets at roughly $430-450 million, however others mentioned it may improve to as a lot as $550 million if the corporate offers a dedication to the potential purchaser to use a portion of those assets on long-term lease foundation. In reality, the chance of VIL persevering with to lease a portion of fibre assets, post-sale is just not being dominated out.

Incidentally, a bulk of VIL’s 1,56,000 km fibre network assets are on inter-city routes and are at present used for backhaul capability. Backhaul has to do with connecting the core of a Telecom network to nodes after which on to towers to transmit knowledge.

Vodafone Idea’s management not too long ago advised analysts that separation of the fibre enterprise would lead to fibre-related capex avoidance for the core mobility enterprise and increase operational efficiencies.

Motilal Oswal mentioned VIL has indicated plans “to play a job in an unbiased fibre sharing entity in future to limit incremental capex”.

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