In a filing at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Vodafone Idea Limited (Vi) informed that the government will hold 33.44 per cent in the telco and that its board has cleared the allotment of shares. The government will thus become the single largest shareholder in Vi after converting the net present value (NPV) of the interest on deferred spectrum payments and adjusted gross revenue (AGR)-related dues amounting to Rs 161.33 billion.

The board of Vi approved allotment of 16,133,184,899 equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each at an issue price of Rs 10 per share, aggregating Rs 161,331,848,990 to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, government of India (acting through President of India). Post the aforesaid allotment, the government’s shareholding in Vi stands at 33.44 per cent in the expanded paid-up capital base of the company. Accordingly, the paid-up share capital of Vi stands increased to Rs 482,520,327,840, comprising 48,252,032,784 equity shares of the face and paid-up value of Rs 10 each.

The conversion issue, which had been lingering for a year, had delayed the operator’s plan of raising funds from external investors that it needs to clear dues of vendors such as Indus Towers Limited and expand its existing 4G network. Vi also needs to urgently finalise 5G gear supply deals with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia for rolling out next gen networks and stem rapid subscriber losses. The founders had previously infused around Rs 49 billion, a bulk of which was used by the operator to clear its dues with Indus Towers Limited.