MD and CEO of Vodafone Idea Ravinder Takkar has made it clear that the Government of India does not wish to run his beleaguered company that the state has otherwise offered to help for the sake of sustenance and health of the telecommunication sector. Yesterday, the cellular major’s board had given a go-ahead for conversion of the full amount of interest related to spectrum auction instalments and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues into equity.
In the new shareholding structure, the two promoters — Vodafone India and the Aditya Birla Group — will see their holding come down to 28.5% and 17.8% respectively, with the government set to hold 35.8%; at this point, the combined holding of the promoters stands at just over 72%.
“The government has told us very clearly they not do not want to run the company nor do they want a duopoly in the market. They also want the existing promoters to remain in the company,” said Takkar. According to him, the two promoters will continue to manage the company. “It is our commitment that we will continue to be a world-class company delivering high-quality customer experience.”
Importantly, the government, through a letter from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has clarified that it does not want its nominee on the board. “They have said there is no intention to nominate a person on to the board, we don’t expect it either,” Takkar said quite categorically. Emphasising the part on commitment again, Takkar said that engagement levels would be high. “We are committed to the business and decision making and will continue to guide it.”
On the issue of fundraising, he explained there was “huge interest” from international investors. “There were three main concerns expressed. They want the government to have three players, support the reforms and also ensure there is enough liquidity in the sector,” said Takkar.