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Vodafone Idea to shut if it doesn’t get relief: Birla

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Kumar Mangalam Birla

New Delhi, Dec 6 : The country’s largest telecom operator will shut its business and move towards insolvency if it does not get any relief regarding the over Rs 40,000 crore adjusted gross revenue-based (AGR) dues it has to pay the Department of Telecom, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Vodafone Idea, said on Friday.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Birla said that the issue of AGR is needed to be resolved urgently.

“We will shut shop if we don’t get relief, it could be the end of the story for us. There is no company in world that could get that kind of money in three months,” he said.

He further said that there will will be no further infusion in to the vent ure by either the Aditya Birla Group or Vodafone, however adding that, added that his telecom business cannot be called a failure.

The Supreme Court in a recent verdict allowed the Centre to recover Rs 92,641 crore in total AGR from telcos, which impacts Airtel and Vodafone Idea the most.

In November, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sent notices to the telcos, asking them to pay the AGR dues on a self-assessment basis within the next three months.

Speaking at the event, Birla, also said that the government has realised that telecom is a critical and strategic sector.

Following the statement by the Vodafone Idea Chairman, shares of the company on the BSE slumped and at 1.13 p.m., its shares were trading at Rs 6.84, lower by 0.47 paise or 6.43 per cent, from its previous close.

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Budget, Coronavirus to be key monitorables next week

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Stock Market Down

Mumbai, Jan 26 : The upcoming six-day trading week will keep investors on their toes due to the mega event of presentation of the Union Budget on Saturday. Much of the trading will also depend on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 56 people in China and dimmed the mood of investors globally.

Investors will take their cues most from the fiscal deficit target that the government sets for the next financial year. Amid tax collections falling below target, analysts say that the markets have already priced in the fiscal deficit to breach the target for the current year set at 3.3 per cent of the GDP.

Anindya Banerjee of Kotak Securities said: “Fear of fiscal slippage in the Union Budget has caused an outflow nearly 1.6 billion from the debt market over the past 3 weeks.”

At the same time, relentless intervention from the central bank has not allowed the rupee to appreciate as much as its peers in Asia. These are the major reasons why the rupee has become one of the weakest currencies in Asia, Banerjee added.

While the Economic survey report on Friday will provide further evidence on the extent of economic slowdown in India, expected measures to kickstart the economy in the Union Budget will provide direction to the equity markets, experts say.

Besides, investors will keep an eye during the upcoming week on the quarterly numbers of heavyweights like HDFC, Maruti Suzuki, the Bajaj twins, Bharti Airtel, SBI, ITC, Power Grid, HUL and Tech Mahindra.

Vinod Niar of Geojit Financial Service said that the market direction will depend on the actual budget announcements and the third quarters results, and that the broad market is still very solid in expectation of re-rating of valuations.

“The Q3 result had solid expectations but actual results are marginally below expectation for sectors like IT and banks, leading to cautiousness in the market. We feel that this cautious trend will be maintained in the near-term,” Nair said.

The Indian stock markets will be open for normal trading on February 1, which is a Saturday, when the Union Budget is presented to the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

(Ravi Dutta Mishra can be contacted at [email protected])

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Global markets under pressure over fear of coronavirus spread

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Stock Market Down

Mumbai, Jan 24 : Fears that the outbreak of coronavirus in China may disrupt economic activity and global growth has sent the stock markets tumbling.

Chinese health authorities on Friday said that 830 cases of pneumonia caused by coronavirus were confirmed in 29 provincial-level regions in the country. The pneumonia has so far claimed 25 lives.

A sharp adverse reaction from Asian, US and European markets was witnessed because China is entering one of its busiest travel periods on account of its Lunar New Year holiday. The virus outbreak could hurt demand.

On Thursday, Chinese stock markets logged its biggest slide in eight months. However, Indian markets closed higher as the oil prices plunged significantly. The global oil benchmark, Brent slipped to $62 a barrel as the virus outbreak in China may dent fuel demand.

Meanwhile official sources told IANS that though over 500 Indian students study in Wuhan city’s medical colleges and universities, most of them had left for home for the Chinese New Year holidays.

Deaths due to the virus have revived memories of the SARS epidemic, caused by a coronavirus, which killed nearly 800 people and infected more than 8,000 others across the world in 2002-2003.

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SC stays NCLAT order on RoC plea for changes in Tata-Mistry verdict

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Cyrus Mistry

New Delhi, Jan 24 : In a major development in the Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry row, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s (NCLAT) order dismissing the Registrar of Company’s (RoC) plea to modify its verdict on the Tata Sons matter.

Tata Sons had challenged in the apex court the NCLAT’s January 6 order on conversion of Tata Sons from a public to a private company.

Agreeing to hear the Tata Sons’ plea, the apex court on Friday issued a notice to the parties concerned. The three judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde will hear the matter along with the main plea filed by Tata Sons against NCLAT’s verdict.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had on January 6 rejected the plea by the RoC to modify the appellate tribunal’s judgement in the Tata-Mistry case.

The NCLAT had in its December 18 verdict termed the RoC’s decision to allow conversion of Tata Sons from a public to private company as illegal, while the RoC had filed a plea at the appellate tribunal to remove the word “illegal” from its verdict, among other observations.

The two-judge bench headed by NCLAT Chairman Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya had observed that the judgment did not cast any aspersions on the RoC.

Posting the matter for hearing after four weeks, the Supreme Court had, on January 10, stayed the NCLAT order reinstating Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons Chairman. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said the NCLAT had granted a prayer not made.

However, Mistry has already made a statement that he is no longer interested in taking up the chairmanship of Tata Sons.

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