Vodafone Group UK is reportedly looking to sell its remaining stake of 21.05% in the Indus Towers so that it can use the proceeds to fund Vi (Vodafone Idea). Vi is in a desperate situation, and the only way out seems to be for the promoters to infuse additional capital into the company. Instead of adding fresh funds, the Vodafone Group wants to sell its entire stake in Indus Towers and use it to help Vi. If Vodafone wants to sell its stake in the tower company, Bharti Airtel, which owns a 47.95% stake in Indus Towers, is ready to waive its right of first refusal. The move would only benefit Airtel in the long run as it is important for Airtel that Vi pays back the dues. If the performance of Indus Towers goes down, the stock of Airtel will also go down.
Since Vi accounts for over 40% of the revenues of Indus Towers, it is important that the telco pays back the dues to the tower company, so its financial performance stays good. A top executive from Airtel told ET that if Vodafone Plc decides to sell its stake in Indus, Airtel is open to waiving its right of first refusal.
Back in March 2022, Airtel bought a 4.7% stake in Indus Towers from Vodafone Group Plc for Rs 2,388 crore. Vodafone also sold a 2.4% stake in the company for Rs 1443 crore. These proceeds were then used to invest in Vi so that the telco could use some of this money to clear the dues it had with Indus Towers.
This time as well, it could happen that the proceeds which come through the stake sale in Indus Towers could be invested in Vodafone Idea so that the telco could use that money to pay off the Indus Towers dues. Indus is not playing around anymore and has given Vi the ultimatum to clear the dues or risk losing tower access.