Supreme Court Gives Telcos 10 Years to Pay AGR Dues to Government

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave cell carriers 10 years to pay again dues owed to the federal government, providing some respite for closely indebted Vodafone Idea whose enterprise has been hit by cut-throat competitors lately.

Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, two of India’s three main carriers, had beforehand requested the court docket for 15 years to settle their charges.

Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling means corporations can have till 2031 to clear their dues, after they missed an authentic January deadline ordering them to pay roughly $13 billion (roughly Rs. 94,878 crores).

The dues refer to the quantity that telecom suppliers have to pay to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for utilizing airwaves and in license charges.

The determination will come as a aid to Vodafone Idea, a three way partnership between Britain’s Vodafone and India’s Idea, which reported its eight consecutive quarterly loss within the three months to June and expressed considerations about its potential to keep afloat.

The firm’s gross debt, excluding its lease liabilities, was Rs. 119,000 crores as of end-June.

The entry in India of Reliance’s Jio telecoms enterprise in late 2016 with free voice companies and cut-price knowledge, compelled many rivals out of the fiercely aggressive market. Others corresponding to Vodafone and Idea have been compelled to regroup however proceed to bleed and lose subscribers.

Vodafone Idea has paid Rs. 7,854 crores, in accordance to regulatory filings, and nonetheless owes roughly Rs. 50,000 crores to the federal government.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court additionally requested telecoms companies to pay 10 % of the dues owed by March 31, 2021, pushing Vodafone Idea’s inventory down 9.8 % at 08:50 GMT.

“The window for Vodafone to raise funds, have better models and give paybacks commitment is small which is adding pressure on the stock,” mentioned Abhimanyu Sofat, Head of Research, at brokerage IIFL Securities.

Vodafone Idea didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Bharti Airtel beforehand mentioned it has paid its full dues of Rs. 18,000 crores on the idea of self-assessment, however authorities calculations recommend it nonetheless wants to pay one other Rs. 25,796 crores. Its shares have been up 6.9 %.

India’s latest provider Jio, managed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, has already cleared its smaller backlog of expenses.

India’s telecom suppliers have to pay the DoT practically three to 5 % of their adjusted gross income (AGR) in utilization expenses for airwaves and eight % of AGR as licence charges. They have lengthy disputed the definition of AGR however final yr the Supreme Court upheld the DoT’s view the AGR ought to embody all income.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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