Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has raised over Rs 85 billion through sovereign guarantee bonds with government funds and public sector undertaking (PSU) banks participating in the issue.

The fund raised through bonds will be used to partially pay off dues of BSNL’s vendors.

In addition, the telco is also planning to monetise assets worth Rs 180 billion within a year and expects to become operationally profitable in the financial year (FY) 2021.

According to P.K. Purwar, chairman and managing director (CMD), BSNL, the telco received a total 229 bids valued at Rs 171.83 billion but accepted only Rs 85 billion as per the approved bond size. BSNL saw participation of ICICI Prudential Bond, National Pension Scheme, Postal Life Insurance Rural Postal Life Insurance, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank etc. Further, State Bank of India (SBI) directly contributed around Rs 15 billion.

The government had also approved a sovereign bond issue worth Rs 65 billion for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) which will be raised separately. Talking about asset monetisation plan, Purwar said that it has identified 14 assets which will be monetised and out of which 11 assets have been given in-principle approval by an inter-ministerial group.

He said that the company is also working on resolving all voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) related issues within 30 days.

Meanwhile, speaking about the 5G trials, Purwar said that the telco will revisit its 5G trial strategy and look at the applications submitted by vendors supplying such technology. Meanwhile, the telco expects the government to soon approve a proposal for floating 4G tender which will focus on including ’Made in India’ telecom gears in the network.