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Telecom Companies Under Debt-Restructuring

IBA Requests Dot For Relief For Telecom Companies Under Debt-Restructuring

The Indian Banks Association (IBA) has requested the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to provide relief measures for telecom companies undergoing debt restructuring. This includes refunding payments related to airwaves surrendered by the telecom companies as well as cancellation of future deferred payments for this spectrum.

In the letter submitted to the DoT, IBA said “This money will be used for repaying the banks which in turn prevent loans from turning into NPA (non-performing asset)”. “We understand the government had allowed a similar facility to BSNL and MTNL in the past” it further added.

IBA has also requested speeding up of the process of providing relief along with return of bank guarantees provided by such companies since of theRs. 7.75 lakh crore telecom sector liabilities, Rs. 5.8 lakh crore was primarily towards banks and spectrum obligations. This would benefit the telecom operators by providing them with more working capital, since the troubled carriers, are currently selling assets including spectrum to reduce debt on their balance sheets.

It is becoming difficult for mobile operators to survive and service their debt without immediate support from the government, the IBA added.The revenue and operating profit has been declining in the telecom industry since 2016-17. The adjusted gross revenue of the industry declined to approximately Rs. 39,778 crore in the first quarter from approximately Rs. 53,384 crore in the same quarter of 2016-17. There has been a 25.5% drop in adjusted gross revenue of the industry in the April-June quarter on a y-o-y basis.

According to IBA, most of the operators undergoing restructuring had borrowed from public sector banks. Some of the mobile operators are undergoing financial restructuring under various RBI schemes.As part of debt restructuring, mobile operators have proposed optimising their assets and monetising non-core assets, including their existing portfolio of spectrum.

Banks are under stress as most of them have exposure to debt-ridden companies, like Reliance Communications and Aircel, who have already defaulted on their debt repayment obligations, and have been directed by the RBI to incorporate higher provisions for their exposure towards the sector.

An inter-ministerial group has recommended relief measures to address financial stress in the telecom industry which have been approved by the Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body of the DoT. The proposals will go to the Cabinet for further approval.

Among the relief measures, the government will also increase the timeframe for deferred spectrum payments to 16 years as well as change the calculation of interest for delayed payments.

We serve a number of clients operating in the telecom industry who have benefitted from our professional services. Find out more on how we can help your business by speaking to one of our advisors at AJSH & Co LLP.

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Where to invest in India

Invest In INDIA

Nearly two decades of economic liberalization, coupled with robust domestic demand, a growing middle class, a young population and a high return on investment, make India a credible investment destination. India jumped 30 places higher in World Bank’s recent ease of doing business report and is aiming to be in the top 50.

Invest India is scheme started by the government’s foreign investment promotion agency, which is planning to actively promote the country as an investment destination and has drawn up a list of 200 companies not present in India that it wants to target.  There are 33 identified investment sectors on the government website, including IT & BPM, Construction, Automobile, Food processing, Healthcare and Telecommunications, which aim to provide the required information for investing in the particular area, highlighting the statistics, the growth driver, the FDI policy, the Sector policy, the investment opportunities, foreign investors, agencies, financial support and achievements.

Some reasons why investment in India is lucrative are as follows:

Fast growing economy

  • India is likely to grow at consistently higher rates (over 7%) and retain its position as one of the fastest growing economies till 2020 (International Monetary Fund).
  • Foreign exchange reserves have been at a comfortable level over recent years. India’s reserves stood at USD 371.279 billion (Reserve Bank of India as on 9th September, 2016).
  • India ranks amongst the top 10 FDI destinations globally – surpassing USD 50 billion in FY 2015-16.
  • India has shown a growth of 46% in FDI equity inflow and 37% in overall FDI inflow since the launch of Make in India initiative (Ministry of Commerce, Government of India).

Demographic Advantage

  • The proportion of working age population in India is likely to reach more than 64% by 2021, with a large number of young persons in the 20-35 age group(Economic Survey 2014).
  • The average age of 125 billion persons will be 29 years by 2020 (Economic Survey, 2014).
  • If India continues its recent growth trend, average household incomes will triple over the next two decades and it will become the world’s fifth largest consumer economy by the year 2025 (McKinsey Report).

Favourable Policies

  • Major FDI policy reforms have been made in a number of sectors, such as defence, construction development, pensions, broadcasting, pharmaceutical and civil aviation.
  • Government of India has permitted foreign investment in almost all sectors with a few exceptions, such as atomic energy & lottery business.
  • 100% FDI is allowed through the automatic route in several sectors, without the need of government approval, namely Automobile, Food Processing, and Construction etc.
  • The Central and State governments have sector specific policies, incentives and subsidies to promote manufacturing.
  • Foreign investors can invest in India either on their own or as a joint venture, as may be required in a few sectors.

 

If you are new to the entire investment scenario, it is advised to seek professional help. Professionals can advise on the available range of viable investments and will help you chalk out your entire investment plan. AJSH & Co LLP can also assist you with company registration process and tax advisory services.

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