The board of directors of telecom company Vodafone Idea has approved has approved the conversion of its entire amount of interest related to spectrum auction installments and adjusted gross revenue dues into equity, the company said in a filing on Tuesday.
“Following conversion [of dues to equity], it is expected that the government will hold around 35.8% of the total outstanding shares of the company, and that the promoter shareholders would hold around 28.5% [Vodafone Group] and around 17.8% [Aditya Birla Group], respectively,” the statement said.
Fifteen entities, most of them telecommunication companies, owe the government Rs 1.47 lakh crore in adjusted gross revenue dues. Of these, Rs 92,642 crore is unpaid licence fees and Rs 55,054 crore is outstanding spectrum usage charges. Vodafone Idea owes the government Rs 58,000 crore, which is the highest amount owed, followed by Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices.
In September, the central government had announced a four-year moratorium for telecommunication companies to repay their dues to the government.
The next month, the Centre had given the companies various options to clear the dues as part of the moratorium. One of these options was a one-time opportunity to convert the interest on this deferred payment into equity at the end of the four-year period.
Vodafone Idea had opted for deferring payment of spectrum auction installments and adjusted gross revenue dues by four years, the statement issued on Tuesday said.
The Centre and telecom companies had been locked in a legal battle for more than a decade till 2019 over the definition of adjusted gross revenues.
During the hearing of the case, the government had maintained that adjusted gross revenues included all revenues from both telecom as well as non-telecom services, while the operators argued that it should include only include the revenue from their core services.
On October 24, 2019, the Supreme Court widened the definition of adjusted gross revenues to include the government’s view.
In a major turn in September, the government, however, had announced that the revenues earned by telecom companies through non-telecom services will not be included in the calculation as part of their adjusted gross revenues.
The decision had come less than a month after the Supreme Court rejected pleas filed by Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices seeking recomputating their adjusted gross revenue dues to the government.