Bharti Airtel has opted for a four-year moratorium on the repayment of around Rs 30 billion of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government. The company, however, has abstained from opting for a conversion of interest on the deferred dues into equity for the government.
Of late, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) offered the telcos the option to choose for deferment in addition to its support package for the industry announced in September 2021. Airtel’s decision comes just under a week after Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) had opted for the moratorium and decided to pay its AGR-related dues of Rs 88.37 billion for FY’18 and FY’19 in six equal annual installments, starting March 31, 2026.
The continuing AGR payments deferral is expected to boost Airtel’s cash flows and help it participate more strongly in the upcoming 5G airwaves sale. The company had AGR dues worth Rs 430 billion as of FY’17. However, the operator has already paid Rs 180.04 billion of this. During December 2021, Airtel had prepaid Rs 155.19 billion to DoT, clearing all dues relating to airwaves bought in the 2014 sale. Subsequently, in March 2022, Airtel prepaid Rs 88.15 billion to the department, clearing a sizable chunk of dues relating to airwaves bought in the 2015 auction.