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India needs three robust telecom firms to achieve digital India goals, SBI Chairman

State Bank of India Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara on Thursday said India needs three strong telecom companies to meet the goals of the digital India.

Speaking at the Vodafone Idea FPO listing ceremony, Khara said, “I think it is not a small recognition, it’s a big event and of course… the nation needs at least three telecom operators, this was the wish from the government of India, but I think all that could not have happened, unless and until, Kumar Mangalam Birla would have shown the way.”

Vodafone raised Rs 18,000 crore from the market earlier this week. The sector continues to flourish and continues to be the backbone of digitalisation, he said.

“We have lived through the tough considered concerns related to entity that it has gone through; I am very happy that the outcome is nothing but a reflection of trust and confidence shown by Birla himself. It is also an unflinching commitment to the telecom sector that he has demonstrated by putting in his personal money as well as sourcing capital across the globe,” Khara said.

“I think digital is the way of life, and with the opportunities that exist in the country, if our own investors would not be there, the sector will go away to foreign investors. Not that we are against them, we welcome them, but at the same time, as proud Indians, we should also be the beneficiaries of the growth which will be seen in the sector,” Khara said.

Aditya Birla group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said Vodafone Idea, which successfully raised Rs 18,000 crore, will make a smart comeback as the country requires three strong wireless telephony networks.

Vodafone Idea share closed up 6.11 per cent at Rs 13,89 on the BSE on Thursday.

Birla said the Aditya Birla Group has remained committed to this sector for over two and a half decades now. “Along with our partner, Vodafone Group, we have cumulatively invested around Rs.170,000 crore in the Indian telecom industry,” he said.

In the last 5 years, out of Rs.30,000 crore raised by the company, more than 75 percent has come from the two promoter groups. The latest fund raise has also seen an investment of over Rs. 2,000 crore from the Aditya Birla Group. This continued commitment stems from our belief in the promise of the India digital story, Birla said at the listing ceremony.

He said the proceeds from this fund raise are earmarked for a significant capital expenditure cycle. This growth capex will pave the way for a network and technological upgrade across key markets. “And this in turn will enhance operational efficiencies and lead to better performance. The cycle of investment will trigger the cycle of growth. On the back of this fund raise and continued support from banks, Vodafone Idea will stage a smart turnaround,” Birla said.

Birla said the successful conclusion of India’s largest FPO of Rs 18,000 crore marks a turning point for the telecom industry. The fact that so many marquee investors participated in this equity issuance is a testament to the government’s vision of a digital India. The emphatic oversubscription of the FPO – with the overall book being subscribed 7 times and the institutional book being subscribed 19 times — demonstrates the tremendous potential of the India digital story and Vodafone Idea’s role in it, he said.

In the last 5 years, out of Rs.30,000 crore raised by the company, more than 75 percent has come from the two promoter groups. The latest fund raise has also seen an investment of over Rs. 2,000 crore from the Aditya Birla Group. This continued commitment stems from our belief in the promise of the India digital story, Birla said at the listing ceremony.

He said the proceeds from this fund raise are earmarked for a significant capital expenditure cycle. This growth capex will pave the way for a network and technological upgrade across key markets. “And this in turn will enhance operational efficiencies and lead to better performance. The cycle of investment will trigger the cycle of growth. On the back of this fund raise and continued support from banks, Vodafone Idea will stage a smart turnaround,” Birla said.

Birla said the successful conclusion of India’s largest FPO of Rs 18,000 crore marks a turning point for the telecom industry. The fact that so many marquee investors participated in this equity issuance is a testament to the government’s vision of a digital India. The emphatic oversubscription of the FPO – with the overall book being subscribed 7 times and the institutional book being subscribed 19 times — demonstrates the tremendous potential of the India digital story and Vodafone Idea’s role in it, he said.

“The robust engagement from both foreign and domestic investors is heartening. Notably, the full subscription of the retail portion is truly commendable, given the sheer scale of the offer,” Birla said. Indian Express

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