Vodafone confirms talks with Aditya Birla Group over India tie-up

Vodafone

Vodafone has put a planned IPO of its business in India on hold after confirming that it is in talks with the Aditya Birla Group about a possible merger of the two companies’ operations.

The UK-based operator said discussions about an all-share merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular did not include its 42 percent stake in Indus Towers.

Should a deal be struck, Vodafone said it would deconsolidate its Indian opco by taking shares in Idea.

Vodafone India has over 200 million customers, while India Cellular’s subscriber base stands at 186.4 million.

In November, Vodafone said it planned to proceed with an IPO “as soon as market conditions allow” after it wrote down the value of its Indian business by €5 billion.

It did not give a reason for the change in tack.

Vodafone India, which has over 200 million customers, has been buffeted by increased competition.

Last November, Vodafone Group Vittorio Colao said: “Competition in India has increased in the year, reducing revenue growth and profitability.

“We have responded to this changing competitive environment by strengthening our data and voice commercial offers and by focusing our participation in the recent spectrum auction on acquiring frequencies in the more successful and profitable areas of the country.”

India Cellular is the third largest mobile operator in the country with a market share of 19 percent.

It generated revenues of 187 billion rupees (€2.6 billion) and EBITDA of 59 billion rupees (€812 million) in the three months to September 2016.

Vodafone India had revenues of €3 billion and EBITDA of €892 million over the same period.

Last October, Vodafone spent €2.7 billion on boosting its spectrum holding in India by 62 percent.

More News

VEON hires Huawei exec to lead global comms VEON hires Huawei exec to lead global comms VEON has appointed Huawei veteran Roland Sladek to drive its PR as the operator continues its attempt to reinvent itself as a tech company. More detail
Bouygues serves up new digital media content to fixed and mobile customers Bouygues serves up new digital media content to fixed and mobile customers Bouygues Telecom is giving subscribers free access to over 1,000 online publications, as it looks to tap into what it described as a surge in digital media usage. More detail
Altice consigns Portugal Telecom, SFR brands to history Altice consigns Portugal Telecom, SFR brands to history Altice will become a major brand in the telecoms world as the owner of Portugal Telecom and SFR unveiled a new global identity. More detail
Vodafone merges Maltese opco with Melita in new convergence play Vodafone merges Maltese opco with Melita in new convergence play Vodafone has agreed a deal with the owners of Melita to merge their operations in Malta. More detail
Telcos need to focus on context, conference hears Telcos need to focus on context, conference hears Context is key to the future success of telcos, speakers at the DigiWorld Future event have said. More detail
    

@eurocomms