Vodafone Idea to sell data centre business to raise money

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Image Credit: Legrand

Indian telecom operator Vodafone Idea (Vi) said it is looking to sell its fixed-line broadband subsidiary, optical fibre unit and data centre business to pay its debts.
Vi has a data centre in Navi Mumbai for around 160,000Km of fiber optics. The company had earlier also tried to sell the data centre unit last year, but reportedly could not find a buyer matching its valuation.

The cash strapped company hopes to raise Rs 74,000 crore by selling its assets to meet liabilities including Rs 22,500 crore towards debt repayment, adjuster gross revenue payments and spectrum dues, according to an ET report.

The company has spent the last few months in unsuccessful attempts to raise funds in discussions with potential investors. CFO Akshaya Moondra said last week, during an analyst call, that the company hopes to receive an additional Rs 3,000 crore in cash this financial year from tax refunds and sale of lands bought for data centres.

The report further said the proposed sale may happen on a “sale and leaseback model” with valuation depending on the tenure of lease with a potential buyer and how much it pay monthly rent for the lease.

Recently, a consortium of lenders to Vi sought the finance ministry’s intervention to provide some relief after concerns were raised over its survival amid continued loss due to lower tariffs. The company had reported a loss of Rs 7,000 crore in the Jan-March quarter this year.

Vi had also written to the Department of Telecom (DoT) requesting one more year’s extension to make spectrum payments of Rs 8,292 crore as its not generating cash from operations.