Mumbai: The UK Vodafone Group's India unit is planning to raise about $1.5 billion as it seeks to turn around its fortunes in the country's fiercely competitive wireless market.
Vodafone Idea is discussing a funding plan that could include a share sale and working with advisers, including New York-based investment bank PJT Partners Inc., as the company seeks potential strategic partners to buy stakes.
The telecom operator is working to identify potential investors in the US. It could also raise part of the funds through other methods such as an offering of equity-linked securities. Details of the plan are still being finalized, and the size and structure of the fundraising could change.
Shares of Vodafone Idea have fallen about 85 per cent since 2016 when Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., backed by Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani, pushed its way into the wireless market with free calls and cheap data packages. Representatives for PJT Partners and Vodafone Idea declined to comment.
Vodafone Idea's fundraising plan also comes after the company won some legal relief earlier this week in a near two-decade payment dispute with the Indian government. The joint venture between Vodafone and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla's conglomerate has been weighed down by a $7.8 billion bill from the government, biggest among peers, eight straight quarterly losses and over $14 billion of debt.
The fine print of a Supreme Court judgment published late Tuesday showed Vodafone Idea doesn't need to make any immediate payments as a three-judge panel allowed phone operators 10 years to pay a combined $19 billion in back fees.