Vodafone Idea (Vi) risks losing access to Indus Towers’ mobile towers from November if it fails to clear its dues. The telco has been asked by Indus Towers to clear its dues or lose access to towers, a report in Economic Times (ET) said.
On Monday, Indus Towers held a Board meeting to discuss the company’s mounting trade receivables. Later, it issued a “strongly-worded” letter to Vi, ET added.
“Independent directors on the Indus board were upset about the prolonged non-payment of dues by Vi,” a person aware of the matter told ET.
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In the letter, Indus Towers reportedly told Vi to clear its dues and pay 80 per cent of the current monthly dues immediately. It has also directed the company to pay 100 per cent of monthly dues “on time”.
Vi’s total tower dues exceed Rs 10,000 crore. Out of this, Rs 7,000 crore is owed to Indus Towers alone. Rs 3,000 crore is owed to American Tower Company (ATC).
The distressed telco is planning to raise Rs 20,000 crore via debt from lenders and equity. However, it has not been able to close any deal yet, ET added.
At the end of June, Indus Towers operated 186,474 towers with Vi being its major buyer. Bharti Airtel owns a 47.76 per cent stake in the company, while Vodafone Group holds 21.05 per cent. Vi had sold its stake in the company after Indus Towers’ merger with Bharti Infratel.
At the end of June, Vi’s net debt stood at Rs 1.98 trillion, with its deferred spectrum payment dues at over Rs 1.16 trillion and debt from banks and financial institutions at Rs 15,200 crore.