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Vodafone Idea pays ₹1,500 crore to IDFC First Bank

Debt-laden Vodafone Idea has paid ₹1,500 crore to IDFC First Bank along with ₹110 crore interest.

In an exchange filing to the NSE, Vodafone Idea notified that it had made timely payment of principal amount together with interest for certain debentures.

These debentures were due on December 13 and the payment was made on time on Monday evening. The company did not disclose the details of the payment but sources told BusinessLine that the payment was made to IDFC bank.

This comes even as there are fears of Vodafone Idea missing out on payments as it has not been able to close a funding deal so far. The cash strapped telco, which was at the cusp of financial insolvency, had received major relief when the government allowed it to defer payments on its spectrum and AGR dues for four years.

However, the company continues to hold debt to private lenders, due to be payable soon. Moreover, analysts remain sceptical regarding whether the company will be able to pay its dues even with the government kicking the can down the road for a major chunk of its dues.

Calls for fundraising
Analysts have been calling for immediate rounds for fundraising to tide over the payment schedule.

“(Vodafone Idea) needs immediate funding for ₹6,400 crore of NCD repayments due between Dec’21 and Mar’22,” Motilal Oswal said in a report a few weeks ago.

According to their latest financial reports, as of September 30, the total debt of the group stands at ₹1,94,778 crore. The existing debt, payable by September 30, 2022, is of the order of ₹9,732 crore.

Experts say that Vodafone Idea owes ₹23,000 crore to the financial system which includes banks and a few other entities. Of this ₹6,000 crore were due by February 2022. After the payment of ₹1,500 crore to IDFC, Vodafone still has ₹4,500 crore due by early next year.

BusinessLine reported earlier that certain lenders to Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) have asked for an increase in interest rates and additional margin money/ security against its existing facilities.

Rating agencies also hold poor ratings for Vi in light of its financial state. CARE ratings holds a ‘B-’ rating (under credit watch with negative implications) for the telco. Instruments with this rating are considered to have a high risk of default regarding timely servicing of financial obligations. Crisil has withdrawn its rating on Vodafone Idea since July 2020. The Hindu Businessline

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