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Vodafone-Idea loss triggers Rs 21.5K cr m-cap loss in Birla firms

On August 19, the company posted lacklustre subscriber numbers having lost 41 lakh customers. Soon after, it was announced that the company CEO Balesh Sharma will be replaced by Ravinder Takkar.

Vodafone-Idea loss triggers Rs 21.5K cr m-cap loss in Birla firms

Mumbai: The unabated losses at Vodafone-Idea are eroding the value of other Aditya Birla Group firms, whose combined m-cap declined by a whopping Rs 21,431 crore on August 20, days after the quarterly results of the telecom arm were announced on July 29.

On August 19, the company posted lacklustre subscriber numbers having lost 41 lakh customers. Soon after, it was announced that the company CEO Balesh Sharma will be replaced by Ravinder Takkar.

Vodafone-Idea shares fell 6 percent on the BSE in Tuesday`s session, a day after Sharma resigned with immediate effect, less than a year into his job. On Wednesday, its shares were down 2.57 per cent on the BSE.

The mobile phone company share price is at an all-time low amid piling losses and a receding subscriber and revenue base. Analysts say further erosion is likely as Jio is racing past to overtake Vodafone in subscribers numbers in the next 4-5 months after edging out Airtel.

In June, the telco had a market cap of about Rs 40,000 crore. Vodafone-Idea reported a net loss of Rs 4,873.9 crore during the April-June 2019 quarter, its 10th loss in the last 11 quarters.

On July 29, the total m-cap of all Aditya Birla Group companies stood at Rs 2.69 lakh crore. On August 20, the same had declined to Rs 2.31 lakh crore.

The telecom major, whose m-cap now stands at Rs 16,781 crore, has lost Rs 2,673 crore in its m-cap since July 29 wiping out most of the gains it made after it raised Rs 25,000 crore by way of a rights issue in May this year.

The sharpest m-cap fall was Rs 9,195 crore in Ultratech Cement followed by Grasim Industries, the flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, which saw the m-cap falling from Rs 52,310 crore on July 29 to Rs 47,967 crore in August 20.

It was the biggest fall in Grasim share prices in the last two years, a cascading effect of the poor Vodafone-Idea results.

Grasim was the single largest promoter-shareholder of Vodafone-Idea with 11.55 per cent stake in the company at the end of June 30. In all, Birlas owned 27.18 per cent stake in the telecom joint venture.

The company owns a majority stake in UltraTech Cement, Aditya Birla Capital and Aditya Birla Money and is a minority shareholder in Hindalco Industries and Aditya Birla Fashion, other two key Aditya Birla Group companies.

The current developments are likely to reduce Grasim`s financial room if it is to make an incremental equity investment in Vodafone-Idea to compensate for its losses as it did in the recent past. The continued losses in Vodafone-Idea have already led to a huge decline in the market value of Grasim`s equity investment in the telco.

The Vodafone India-Idea merger was triggered by the price war that broke out after Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio started services in September 2016. Vodafone-Idea losses have continued since the merger -- almost Rs 4,900 crore in the April-June quarter on a revenue of Rs 11,269.9 crore -- below Jio`s Rs 11,679 crore revenue for the first time.

Since August 31, Vodafone-Idea`s stock prices have fallen 81 per cent and the company has lost almost 90 million subscribers as mainly low-paying users moved to Jio, shrinking its market share to less than 33 per cent from 41 per cent.

Its revenue market share has hovered at about 32 per cent since the merger, slightly ahead of Jio and Airtel.