“We would like to advise that Indus Towers is one of the large providers providing passive infrastructure services to the company… the company is in discussions with Indus for more flexible payment terms, which are continuing, but have not yet been concluded,” Vi said in a Thursday evening response to a question about BSE.
Vi added that if an event occurs that warrants disclosure under Sebi’s listing rules, he will keep the exchanges informed. Earlier in the day, the telco’s stock plunged, closing down 6.2% at Rs 8.47 on BSE.
Vi’s mobile services to its more than 255 million subscribers could be seriously disrupted if Indus blocks the tower’s access to the telecom operator.
The tower company issued a warning to Vi in a letter written on Monday, people with knowledge of the matter told ET. This followed an Indus Towers board meeting earlier in the day which discussed the company’s growing trade receivables and noted that this was primarily due to late payments from Vi.
In his letter, Indus allegedly told Vi to pay all arrears (read: aging debts) as soon as possible, to pay 80% of his current monthly dues immediately, and in the future to pay 100% of monthly dues on time. otherwise, access to the tower network would be prohibited.
Vi’s accrued dues to the tower companies are estimated at over Rs 10,000 crore, of which he is estimated to owe well over Rs 7,000 crore to Indus and the balance to American Tower Co (ATC). The carrier has attempted to raise Rs 20,000 crore, split between more debt from lenders and equity, but has yet to be able to strike a deal.
Vi’s trade payables jumped nearly 13.6% sequentially to Rs 14,956.2 crore in the June quarter. Its debts – which are part of its current liabilities – include amounts due to tower companies, network providers and other suppliers.
Indus’ trade receivables stood at Rs 6,249.6 crore in the June quarter, largely due to late payments from Vi.