New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Shares of telecom majors plunged on Thursday following the Supreme Court order directing telecom carriers including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, to pay the government as much as Rs 92,000 crore in dues, which includes penalties and interest.
Vodafone Idea’s stocks slumped 23 per cent to touch a 52-week high of Rs 4.35 per share. At 3.06 p.m., its shares were trading at Rs 4.36, lower by Rs 1.29 or 22.83 per cent from its previous close.
Post the Supreme Court’s order, shares of Bharti Airtel dived 9.7 per cent to touch an intra-day low of Rs 325.60 per share.
Its stocks, however recovered to trade around 2.76 per cent or Rs 9.95 higher at Rs 370.45 per share.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, among other telecom firms will now have to shell out huge past dues to the Department of Telecom (DoT) following the top court’s order.
Airtel said the government must review the impact of the apex court’s order as the companies have invested billions and are currently facing severe financial pressure.
“The government must review the impact of this decision and find suitable ways to mitigate the financial burden on the already stressed industry. We will be able to comment further only after reviewing the order in detail,” an Airtel spokesperson said.
According to the DoT’s calculation, Bharti Airtel owes around Rs 23,000 crore as licence fee and penalties — a percentage of AGR — to the government, Vodafone Idea owes Rs 19,823.71 crore, while Reliance Communications owes a total of Rs 16,456.47 crore. Reliance Communications has shut operations and has since exited.
The dispute was on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), including its definition, with the government demand of Rs 92,000 crore. The DoT has said that AGR should include dividends, handset sales, rent and profit from the sale of scrap, apart from revenue from services.