The Indian government intends to sell off its stake in Vodafone Idea (Vi) once the company stabilises its financial position, according to a report by Economic Times. The government will also not embark upon the route of converting the telco into a state-run company or insist upon a seat at the board of directors table. It will not dictate the direction of the company or manage its affairs despite being the largest stakeholder at 35.8 percent, the report added. Why this matters: This development gives a picture of the role that the Indian government intends to play in the third-largest telecom operator in the country after it picked up a majority stake. How did Vi evade the burden of spectrum and AGR payments? Vodafone Idea’s Board of Directors approved the conversion of the full amount of interest arising out of the company’s spectrum auction instalments and AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) dues into equity, according to a regulatory filing with the National Stock Exchange. The filing revealed that the Net Present Value (NPV) of the interest was around Rs.16,000 crore, according to the company's estimates. Vodafone Group will hold around 28.5 percent and the Aditya Birla Group will hold around 17.8% respectively after the conversion. What about its competitior? Bharti Airtel, like Vi, also opted for the four-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum dues last year but decided to not opt for conversion of interest into equity last week, according to Moneycontrol. One of the analysts Moneycontrol spoke to suggested that “the move hints…
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