Regulatory glitches are holding up Vodafone India’s ambitious plans to go for a share issue, despite its performance being well above industry standards, Marten Pieters, its managing director and CEO, said on Wednesday.
“We are waiting for clarity on various regulatory issues like licence renewal and extension. It is difficult to price the company if we do not know what the future liabilities are,” Pieters, a Dutchman, told a news conference here to unveil financial results of the company, the country’s second biggest mobile telephony operator after Bharti Airtel.
Vodafone India had 152.6 million subscribers at the end of September.
Though an aggressive player across India, UK-based Vodafone is groaning about high interest rates, high spectrum prices and too much competition.
“How long can we keep on losing money?” asked Pieters.
There are seven or eight players in each service area in the country. This makes India one of the most competitive telecom markets in the world.
“We get an average revenue of 44 paise per minute compared to the industry standard of 35 paise per minute,” said Pieters. “If we cannot make money, how can others make money?”
Vodfaone India said its revenues grew by 13.3% to R17,580 crore for the six months ended September 30, compared to the year-ago period.
Consolidated revenues that include earnings from its subsidiaries and the proportionate inclusion of mobile infrastructure firm Indus Towers stood at Rs. 15,510 crore in the same period last year.
The company declined to share profit/loss figures for the company but said operating profit grew to R4,993 crore in April-September from Rs. 3,964 crore a year ago, up 26%.
The UK-headquartered telecom major’s operating profit margin grew to 28.4% from 25.6% in April-September over the previous year’s level.