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Vodafone writes off book value of Indian operation, CEO flags liquidation risk

In the financial results released on Tuesday, most of Vodafone’s bad news came from India. This included write-downs, losses, reduced cash flows and provisions for the Supreme Court judgement.

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New Delhi, Nov 12 : The price wars in the Indian telecom market have pushed the value of Vodafone’s local joint venture to zero or nil as Vodafone CEO Nick Read indicated that the Indian operation is headed for liquidation unless the Indian government provides relief on mobile spectrum fees.

The parent company, Vodafone, has written off the book value of the Indian business. As per financial results released by Vodafone Group on Tuesday, the book value of Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in joint venture, Vodafone Idea, has slumped to zero in November 2019. Contrast this with the fact that the book value was more than 2 billion euros in June 2018, but in May of this year, the book value had been reduced to 1.5 billion euros.

In the financial results released on Tuesday, most of Vodafone’s bad news came from India. This included write-downs, losses, reduced cash flows and provisions for the Supreme Court judgement.

Vodafone said the remaining carrying value has been redued to nil. “As the Group has no obligation to fund VIL losses, the Group has recognised its share of estimated Vodafone Idea Limited (‘VIL’) losses arising from both its operating activities and those in relation to the AGR judgement to an amount that is limited to the remaining carrying value of VIL, which is therefore reduced to nil,” Vodafone said. It has recognized the losses and the carrying value is reduced to nil.

“If the carrying value had been high enough not to have restricted the Group’s share of losses, then the recognised share of losses would have been substantially higher,” it said.

“The Group’s recorded share of VIL’s resulting losses has been restricted to the amount that reduces the Group’s carrying value in VIL to nil at 30 September 2019. The Group’s carrying value was 1,392 million euros at 31 March 2019 and in May 2019 the Group invested 1,410 million euros via a rights issue,” it said.

As per media reports, Read said in London after the financial results that Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian venture could be headed for liquidation unless the government gives relief. One of the largest foreign investors in India, Vodafone has decided not to invest any more into the business.

“If you don’t get the remedies being suggested, the situation is critical,” Read said at a press round-table in London, the reports said. “If you’re not a going concern, you’re moving into a liquidation scenario — can’t get any clearer than that.”

Vodafone wrote off the carrying value of its share in the loss-making joint venture in the half-year results after analysts indicated further impairments.

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WhatsApp rolls out first-ever global brand campaign in India

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New Delhi, July 4 : WhatsApp on Saturday launched its first brand campaign in India that narrates real stories about how Indians communicate daily on WhatsApp with their closest relationships.

The campaign called ”It”s Between You” gives thrust on WhatsApp”s commitment to privacy, the company said in a statement.

“With WhatsApp”s end-to-end encryption, we come closest to replicating real-life interactions and that”s when we can truly be ourselves. The conversations you have, the jokes you tell and the memories you relive belong to you and deserve to stay between you,” said Avinash Pant, Director, Marketing at Facebook India.

WhatsApp collaborated with Gauri Shinde, a celebrated Indian Bollywood director along with BBDO India to create two 60-seconds ads, each highlighting how WhatsApp”s features like texts, video calls or even a voice message, help replicate in-person conversations and bring people closer.

One ad is based on a true story about an elderly woman and her caregiver, who are now separated from each other.

“From how to bring together the cast and crew that were right for the part and happened to be living together, and directing over a WhatsApp video call, to doing all the post production work without being physically present, it”s been really rewarding,” said Shinde.

The second story is at the other end of the spectrum of emotion, which is a light and fun film about a younger sister giving joyful courage to her elder one through a WhatsApp video call, when the latter feels vulnerable and hesitant to give her a haircut at home.

“WhatsApp is designed to help friends and family communicate as well as help users connect with a business that is important to them,” said the company.

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Govt to levy interest on late payment to MSMEs for GeM purchase

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, July 3 : Government departments and agencies will have to pay interest on late payment to vendors, largely MSMEs, for products procured through the Government e-Martketplace (GeM), starting October 1.

Through an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance on Friday said that if the payment is not made within 10 days of the Consignee Receipt and Acceptance Certificate (CRAC) being auto generated or issued by the buyer, the concerned department will have to pay interest at the rate of one per cent per month for the delayed payment.

However, this very interest will not go to the MSMEs concerned and instead, will deposited in an account maintained by the GeM, which will be used only for the education of buyers and sellers or public procurement with the prior approval of the Department of Expenditure, said the office memorandum.

“ln order to promote greater discipline and timeliness in payment to vendors, especially #MSMEs, the government has issued an order to levy interest on late payment to vendors on the government e-marketplace. #AatmaNirbharBharat,” said a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman”s office.

The order will be effective on orders made from October 1, 2020.

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Tomato prices skyrocket to Rs 70/kg in Delhi-NCR

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

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New Delhi, July 3 : With the onset of the monsoon tomato prices soared to Rs 70 per kg in New Delhi and its surrounding areas on Friday.

Crop failure in the rainy season and the late arrival of tomatoes in the mandis (wholesale markets) have led to the price hike. However, the prices are expected to fall after the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh next week.

A month ago, the price of tomatoes in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi was between Rs 1.25 and Rs 4.75 per kg, while the wholesale price on Friday was Rs 6.44 per kg.

The model rate of tomato was Rs 3 per kg in Azadpur mandi on June 3, which has increased by 10 times to Rs 29 per kg. On July 2, the wholesale price of tomatoes rose to Rs 52 per kg in the mandi, which means there has been an increase of about 995% in the last one month. Due to the rise in wholesale prices, tomatoes were sold at Rs 80 per kg on Thursday in Delhi-NCR and Rs 50.70 per kg in Greater Noida.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said prices have gone up due to late arrival of tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes received at Azadpur mandi was 528.2 tonne on June 3 while on July 3 it was 281.6 tonne. The quantity has thus been reduced by nearly 50 per cent in a month. Only 241.9 tonne were received on July 2 due to which the wholesale price was Rs 6.52 per kg while the model rate was Rs 32 per kg, Khan added.

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

From next week, the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh will lead to a decline in the prices of tomatoes. He said at present 90 per cent of the tomatoes in Delhi arrive from Himachal Pradesh while only 10 per cent are received from Haryana and Karnataka.

The consumption of all green vegetables, tomatoes and onions has declined during the past few months because of the shutdown of hotels, restaurants, canteens and dhabas following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. This led to a marked fall in prices. The wholesale price of tomatoes had come down to less than one rupee per kg.

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