Waiting for Right Time to list Vodafone India: Colao

By: Gizbot Bureau

UK-based telecom major Vodafone today said it plans to list its Indian unit on local bourses and is waiting for the right time for the IPO. "Listing decisions have to be taken in the right time and the right moment.

Right now we are concentrating on improving our network and building our broadband penetration and surely one day we would consider an IPO...I am not against it," Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said here.

Signalling its commitment towards the Indian market, Vodafone Group held its board meeting in Delhi this time. "We took the board here because first of all, India is quickly becoming one of our most important countries and therefore it was good for the board to see our colleagues, to see the commercial activities.

Waiting for Right Time to list Vodafone India: Colao

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Also, we have a transitional change, Sunil is becoming the new chief executive, so it was important for the board and for Sunil to spend some time together," Colao said. The Group CEO also met Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and discussed the Digital India project and how can the private sector can play a role in it.

"It was an excellent meeting and we had a very good alignment on the Digital India project. We think we can have a great role on Digital India with the right amount of spectrum... we can be very instrumental," Colao added. Asked if the tax issue was also discussed, Colao said, "Absolutely not."

Vodafone is facing a tax liability of over Rs 11,200 crore along with interest on its 2007 acquisition of Honk Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa's stake in India's telecom major Hutchison Essar. Giving more details about the meeting, sources said Colao told the minister how can Vodafone play an important role in providing the last mile connectivity.

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Colao is also believed to have sought adequate availability of spectrum. Sources said that minister conveyed to the CEO that whatever is doable should be done and whenever more spectrum is released from the Defence, it will be auctioned thereafter.

The upcoming spectrum auctions are crucial for the company as the company's licences in seven circles come up for renewal by December this year. India is a key strategic growth market for Vodafone Group and the local unit is fourth largest contributor to its overall service revenues.

The company had reported net profit in the country last year for the first time since its entry in 2007 mainly on the back of growth in data and increased call charges. Colao had earlier said that the company was "incredibly positive about India not only from the business point of view but otherwise too."

Source: PTI

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