Indian operator Vodafone Idea has indicated its willingness to accept a Department of Telecommunications (DoT) offer of a spectrum payment moratorium, part of a number of measures that may offer relief for the cash-strapped company.
The four-year moratorium could allow cash-flow relief of around Rs 60,000 crore (that’s a far from negligible $8.016 billion).
The company, also known as Vi, has also asked the DoT for the return of its bank guarantees. These had been handed over to cover the spectrum payments and could be as high as $1.9 billion, which, if returned, would put Vi in a better position to access more funds from banks. The stock market has so far reacted favourably to these news reports.
Vi has until 29 October to decide whether to opt for a four-year payment moratorium on AGR annual instalments as well; this could free up as much as $5.35 billion. It also has 90 days to exercise a one-time option of converting the interest that accrues due to deferred payments into government equity.
These and other measures are part of a relief package approved by the Indian cabinet that we reported in September. Its aim is help to counter the effect of the massive debt burden faced by a number of players in the telecommunications market.