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    RELIANCE   INE002A01018

RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LTD

(RELIANCE)
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India's top court rejects telecom firms' plea on dues, shares hit

07/23/2021 | 03:16am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A girl checks her mobile phone as she walks past the Bharti Airtel office building in Gurugram

NEW DELHI, July 23 (Reuters) - India's top court rejected on Friday a plea by mobile carriers seeking corrections of what they called errors in the government's calculation of their dues, leading to a slump in the shares of embattled Vodafone Idea.

Last year, the Supreme Court gave telecoms companies 10 years until 2031 to clear dues owed to the government for use of the airwaves and as license fees, after they missed a January deadline to pay roughly $13 billion.

Friday's ruling is a setback to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, which had approached the Supreme Court again this year, urging a re-calculation, but will have greater impact on heavily-indebted Vodafone Idea.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea did not respond to requests for comment.

After the ruling, shares of Vodafone Idea fell as much as 14.6 percent to their lowest since October, while Bharti lost as much as 2.6 percent before reversing course.

Friday's decision does not "bode well for the recovery in the sector," ratings agency ICRA said in a note, adding that elevated debt levels and very low tariffs were likely to lengthen the process.

Vodafone Idea's net debt, at 1.8 trillion rupees was "high," standing at 10 times its operating profit for the year to March 31, calculations by brokerage Yes Securities show.

It is also losing subscribers at a time of talks with potential investors to raise funds in a market disrupted by Reliance Industries' Jio telecoms venture launched in late 2016.

Vodafone Idea has paid the government 78.54 billion rupees in telecoms dues, regulatory filings show, but still owes roughly 500 billion.

Bharti Airtel has said it paid dues estimated at 180 billion rupees, but government figures show it owes a further 259.76 billion.

Jio, controlled by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has already paid off its smaller quantum of charges. ($1=74.4325 rupees) (Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in NEW DELHI and Shivani Singh in BENGALURU; Additional reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BHARTI AIRTEL LIMITED 0.00% 726.75 End-of-day quote.42.70%
ICRA LIMITED 1.08% 3584.95 End-of-day quote.22.53%
RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LTD 1.07% 2430.5 Delayed Quote.21.13%
VODAFONE IDEA LIMITED -3.70% 10.4 Delayed Quote.1.41%
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Financials
Sales 2022 6 547 B 88 728 M 88 728 M
Net income 2022 577 B 7 822 M 7 822 M
Net Debt 2022 17 775 M 241 M 241 M
P/E ratio 2022 28,5x
Yield 2022 0,33%
Capitalization 15 438 B 209 B 209 B
EV / Sales 2022 2,36x
EV / Sales 2023 2,01x
Nbr of Employees 236 334
Free-Float 50,4%
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Number of Analysts 31
Last Close Price 2 430,50 INR
Average target price 2 260,73 INR
Spread / Average Target -6,98%
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Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani Chairman & Managing Director
Srikanth Venkatachari Joint Chief Financial Officer
Alok Agarwal Joint Chief Financial Officer
K. Sethuraman Group Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer
Savithri Parekh Joint Secretary & Compliance Officer
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