Idea Cellular is planning to raise Rs 500 crore by issuing unsecured redeemable bonds on a private placement basis, the company informed stock exchanges on Thursday. It plans to sell non-convertible debentures (NCDs) which offers 7.77% interest for a tenure of 5 years. The bonds will be issued in the National Stock Exchange (NSE) by 17thth January 2017 and the maturity date will be 17th January 2022.
Note that this is Idea’s third proposal to raise funds via private bonds. Last week it issued a proposal to raise Rs 1,000 crore by way of private bonds with an interest rate of 7.57%. Last month it issued unsecured redeemable NCDs worth Rs 1,500 crore with a 7.57% interest rate in the NSE.
The consecutive proposal to raise funds comes at a time when the Indian telecom industry is going through a rather competitive phase. Post launch of Jio’s free calls/data offer, Idea’s net profit fell significantly by 99.36% Year-on-Year to Rs 4.3 crore in Q2 FY17. However the company’s 4G base grew 70% quarter-on-quarter to 3.073 million 4G customers in the same quarter.
Existing operators including Idea and Airtel have stepped up by unveiling their own free 4G data offers. Idea is also stepping up its 4G coverage with its plans to upgrade all of its 17 service areas to 3G and/or 4G by March 2017. Currently it has 4G services in 10 circles and plans to deploy 4G services in 9 new service areas by March 2017 using newly acquired spectrum in this year’s auctions. On the other hand, Jio which is a 4G-only operator claimed 53 million subscribers as of December.
Idea investment on fiber and 4G
The company also invested Rs 100 crore in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana circles last month for expanding its 4G and 3G infrastructure. Idea also upgraded its fiber network base that spans over 126,000 kilometers and claimed to have 8,160 access points across its Fiber line during Q2 FY17. It will utilize these fiber points as a backbone support to its mobile broadband services.