Mumbai, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Thursday said the 18,000-crore fundraise by Vodafone Idea is a “fresh lease of life” for the company and asserted that the telco will stage a smart comeback.

Fundraise of 18,000 cr fresh lease of life for Vi; firm to make smart comeback: Kumar Mangalam Birla

The company, which has been struggling to hold on to subscribers amid aggressive play by bigger rivals Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, will focus on increasing its network, densifying it and also selectively introduce 5G services, Birla told reporters at the listing ceremony of Vodafone Idea’s follow-on public offer.

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Calling it as the beginning of ‘Vi 2.0’, Birla said the money raised will be invested in the business, which will trigger a cycle of growth.

“Vi will stage a smart comeback, this moment marks the beginning of Vi 2.0,” Birla said at the listing ceremony.

When asked if most of the problems for the company get sorted with the capital raise, Birla answered in the affirmative.

“And this is like a sort of fresh lease of life for the company,” he said.

He credited the government’s reform package for ensuring the journey till here for the company and helping preserve a three-player telecom market.

“A nation of 1.4 billion people deserves three private telecom players,” he said, calling Vi as a “national asset” which serves 215 million people and possesses over 8,000 MHz of spectrum.

Birla declined to comment on the reports of a stake sale in Indus Towers while speaking with reporters.

He said Vi’s promoters Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group have invested over 1.70 lakh crore in the telco till now and added that in the last five years alone, three-fourths of the 30,000 crore investment at the company has come from the two parents.

The overall debt of the company stands at 4,000 crore now, which was termed as low by the group chairman.

Speaking at the same event, SBI chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara said bankers have “lived through the tough” times and the concerns related to the entity, and credited Birla for the trust and confidence.

He also reiterated that the country needs three private telcos, and commended Birla for putting in personal money and that from investors all across the globe.

The company raised 18,000 crore from investors in the FPO issue which was oversubscribed by nearly 7 times. Birla said the retail portion also received full subscriptions.

The Vodafone Idea scrip closed 5.27 per cent up at 13.78 a piece on the BSE on Thursday, as against gains of 0.66 per cent in the benchmark.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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