While many other issues face Indian telecoms at the moment, ongoing questions of debt dating back well before this year are still in the news for Bharti Airtel and MTNL.
Indian press reports, quoting financial services firm S&P Global, indicate that Bharti Airtel’s capital raise of up to $3 billion should lessen financial pressure on the company related to the ongoing issues involving adjusted gross revenue dues.
The money was apparently raised through a capital-raising tool known as a qualified institutional placement (QIP), along with an issue of foreign currency convertible bonds.
According to the Supreme Court ruling in October, reinforced more than once in the last few months, Bharti Airtel owes around $4.7 billion, of which it has so far paid about $2.4 billion. The court had planned to meet again to look at the possibility of a staggered timetable for Bharti and others to pay their debts, but this would be difficult in the present circumstances.
Meanwhile state-owned operator MTNL has cleared its salary backlog up to March. It is now looking to resolve debt issues through asset monetisation, according to Indian press reports. MTNL is said to have a debt of around $2.6 billion. It has recently started leasing premises in Mumbai and Delhi.
Another major state-owned player, BSNL, has cleared the salaries of its employees up to February.