Vodafone-Idea Losses Narrow In Q1 As Tariff Hikes Boost Realisation

The company informed that Ravinder Takkar will take over as Chairman with effect from August 19 and that Himanshu Kapania will step down as non-executive Chairman
Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

Vodafone Idea on Wednesday reported a marginal narrowing of its consolidated loss to Rs 7,296.7 crore for the June quarter compared to the year-ago period, as tariff hikes boosted its realizations.

The company informed that Ravinder Takkar will take over as Chairman with effect from August 19 and that Himanshu Kapania will step down as non-executive Chairman.

"The Board of Directors accepted the request of Himanshu Kapania, to step down as Non-executive Chairman of the Board, with effect from 18 August 2022. He will continue on the Board of Vodafone Idea as a non-executive director," the company said in a statement.

The Board has unanimously elected Takkar as Chairman, effective August 19, 2022.

Takkar currently MD and CEO of VIL, "will bring in his vast experience of over three decades in guiding the company, in his role as Chairman".

Takkar is a nominee of Vodafone Group and a telecom industry veteran with over 30 years of experience.

VIL reported a narrowing of losses to Rs 7,296.7 crore in Q1 FY23. The telco's loss stood at Rs 7,319.1 crore in the year-ago period.

VIL's revenue from operations grew to about Rs 10,410 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2022, improving nearly 14 per cent from the year-ago period.

Its Average Revenue Per User or ARPU - a key monitorable for telecom players - stood at Rs 128 per subscriber for the quarter compared to Rs 104 in Q1FY22. This represented an improvement of 23.4 per cent year on year, helped by tariff hikes.

Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar said: "We continue to witness 4G subscriber growth on the back of superior data and voice experience...as well as due to our focus on creating a differentiated digital experience for our customers."

He assured that the company, in the recently-concluded spectrum auction, has acquired sufficient spectrum in key markets to offer a superior 5G experience to customers.

"We also completed the first tranche of fundraising in the form of preferential equity contribution of Rs 49.4 billion (Rs 4,940 crore) from our promoters, including the incremental infusion of Rs 4.4 billion by Vodafone Group in July 2022," Takkar said.

The company continues to remain engaged with lenders and investors for further fundraising.

Its revenue growth at 13.7 per cent was the "highest since the merger".

Idea Cellular and Vodafone Plc completed the merger of their India operations in 2018.

"The total gross debt (excluding lease liabilities and including interest accrued but not due) as of June 30, 2022, stands at Rs 1,990.8 billion, comprising of deferred spectrum payment obligations of Rs 1,166 billion and AGR liability of Rs 672.7 billion that is due to the Government, and debt from banks and financial institutions of Rs 152.0 billion," the company said in a statement.

VIL said it shut down about 3,100 3G sites during the quarter, and added over 2,600 4G sites.

The ARPU improved to Rs 128, up 3.6 per cent on a sequential basis against Rs 124 in the March quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, these metrics witnessed "strong" growth of 23.4 per cent aided by tariff hikes.

"The subscriber base declined to 240.4 million versus 243.8 million in Q4FY22. However, the 4G subscriber base continued to grow and with one million customers added in Q1, 4G base now stands at 119.0 million," the company said.

The debt-ridden company had acquired spectrum worth Rs 18,799 crore in the just-concluded auction. 

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