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AGR Verdict Aftermath: MFs, PFs Brace For Storm Over Vodafone Idea Debt

Investors — small as well as institutional — are staring at huge losses on account of their indirect exposure to beleaguered Vodafone Idea, which is on the verge of a collapse over liabilities to the government and a heavy debt burden amid industry stress.

About 45 mutual fund (MF) schemes belonging to four fund houses and at least three provident and pension fund schemes have invested in debentures of the telco.

MFs have already started to mark-down their debt exposure following Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday to reject review plea of the telecom companies on additional gross revenue (AGR) dues.

While Franklin Templeton MF and Nippon India MF have taken a 100 percent mark down, other fund houses are yet to take a call on whether the asset needs to be re-valued ahead of a probable rating action.

On Thursday, Franklin Templeton MF, which has Rs 2,073 crore in exposure to Vodafone Idea (as of December) in six of its schemes, marked down the exposure to zero as a prudential move to protect the interests of its existing shareholders.

This led to 4-7 per cent dip in the net asset values (NAVs) of the schemes exposed to the telecom company’s debt instruments. Overall, Franklin Templeton MF’s debt exposure to the company accounted for 61 percent MF industry’s exposure.


The fund house has also limited fresh inflows to its schemes to Rs 200,000 per fund per investor to avoid giving arbitrage opportunities in schemes with markdowns. Overall, the MF industry has debt exposure of Rs 3,389 crore, spread across 45 schemes. Nippon India MF has also marked down its exposure to Vodafone Idea to zero.




Experts add that schemes, especially those with large allocation of their corpus to the firm, might see investors getting differently impacted than those that don’t redeem in time. “Fund houses should ensure one set of investors doesn’t get benefit over others in such situations,” said Dhirendra Kumar, founder and chief executive officer of Value Research.


Birla Sun Life MF and UTI AMC are yet to take a call. The latter has high percentage exposure to debt paper of Vodafone Idea in its credit risk fund (7.32 percent of assets), UTI Bond Fund (8.32 percent) and UTI Regular Savings Fund (5.57 percent). Overall, the fund house has exposure of Rs 557 crore.



According to the regulatory filings by the company, National Pension Scheme, the Board of Trustees for Bokaro Steel Employees Provident Fund and MTNL Employees Provident Fund Trust are some retirement funds that have exposure to the telecom player. The current status of the investments for these funds was not immediately clear.―Business Standard

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