Vodafone Idea Reports Quarterly Loss, Sheds 7 Million Subscribers

Vodafone Idea reported a third-quarter loss on Thursday, as the troubled Indian telecom company shed millions of mobile subscribers due to intense competition.

The quarterly results come as Vodafone Idea and other Indian telecom firms are pressured by government demands to pay $13 billion (roughly Rs. 9,300 crores) in overdue levies in a long-contested dispute.

Indian telecom carriers have increased prices in response and Vodafone Idea, which owes at least $4 billion in dues, has sought a “modification” of India’s top court’s October ruling which upheld the government’s demand.

The prospect of paying the dues even prompted Vodafone Idea’s billionaire chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla to warn of “shutting shop” if the company doesn’t get relief.

The company, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone Group and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular, said on Thursday there was still material uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Rival Bharti Airtel said earlier this month the company no longer faced any threats about its ability to continue as a going concern.

In the three months to December 31, Vodafone Idea shed another 7 million subscribers, as it battles Reliance Industries’s Jio and Bharti Airtel for customers.

Vodafone Idea posted a loss of Rs. 6,439 crores in the three months ending December 31, compared with a loss of Rs. 5,005 crores a year earlier.

Analysts had expected the company to report a loss of Rs. 4,716 crores, according to Refinitiv estimates.

Revenue fell 5.8 percent to  Rs. 11,089 crores in the reported quarter.

Vodafone Idea had reported a loss of Rs. 50,922 crores in the second quarter of 2019, the biggest loss ever by a company in Indian corporate history.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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