Vodafone’s India venture reports sixth straight quarterly loss
BENGALURU: Vodafone Idea reported a third-quarter loss on Thursday, as the troubled Indian telecom company shed millions of mobile subscribers due to intense competition.
The quarterly results come as Vodafone Idea and other Indian telecom firms are pressured by government demands to pay $13 billion in overdue levies in a long-contested dispute.
Indian telecom carriers have increased prices in response and Vodafone Idea, which owes at least $4 billion in dues, has sought a “modification” of India’s top court’s October ruling which upheld the government’s demand.
The prospect of paying the dues even prompted Vodafone Idea’s billionaire chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla to warn of “shutting shop” if the company doesn’t get relief.
The company, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc and billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular, said on Thursday there was still material uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern.
Rival Bharti Airtel said earlier this month the company no longer faced any threats about its ability to continue as a going concern.
In the three months to Dec. 31, Vodafone Idea shed another 7 million subscribers, as it battles Reliance Industries Ltd’s Jio and Bharti Airtel for customers.
Vodafone Idea posted a loss of 64.39 billion Indian rupees ($903.48 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, compared with a loss of 50.05 billion rupees a year earlier.
Analysts had expected the company to report a loss of 47.16 billion Indian rupees, according to Refinitiv estimates.
Revenue fell 5.8% to 110.89 billion rupees in the reported quarter.
Vodafone Idea had reported a loss of 509.22 billion rupees in the second quarter of 2019, the biggest loss ever by a company in Indian corporate history.