Vodafone CEO may meet Minister on AGR

Seeks meeting with Prasad on March 6

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read is likely to travel to India this week amid its India joint venture Vodafone Idea struggling to pay its adjusted gross revenues (AGR)-related dues ahead of the next Supreme Court hearing on the issue on March 17.

Mr. Read has also put in a request to meet Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, a source who did not want to be named, told The Hindu. “Mr. Read has requested a meeting with the Minister on March 6 (Friday),” the source said.

As per the letter, dated February 28, sent to the Minister’s office, Vodafone Idea has stated that Mr. Read will be accompanied by Ravinder Takkar, MD and CEO, Vodafone Idea, for the meeting. The letter, written by P Balaji, chief regulatory and corporate affairs officer at Vodafone Idea, also adds that Vodafone Group is the largest FDI investor in the country across all sectors.

The Minister has not yet confirmed the time for the meeting, the source added.

The meeting gains importance as Vodafone Idea is reeling under pressure to pay statutory dues of ₹53,000 crore as per government’s estimate.. Of this, it has only paid about ₹3,500 crore.

Vodafone Idea has been hit the most by the Supreme Court’s judgement on AGR. The company has already cautioned that its ability to continue as a going concern would depend on a favourable outcome of its modification plea in the Supreme Court. Additionally, last month, in a letter to Telecom Secretary, it had expressed its inability to make these payments without government support. “At this point, we do not have the financial strength to pay the balance, self-assessed principal, interest, penalty and interest of penalty,” the company had said, while seeking that floor price for data be increased ₹35/GB while that for voice call be fixed at 6p/min.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 2:57:06 PM |

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