Vodafone India IPO not before next fiscal year
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

British telecom operator Vodafone Group Plc said on Tuesday a planned initial public offering of its Indian unit will not happen this financial year.

“The Group intends to proceed with an IPO of Vodafone India as soon as market conditions allow. We do not expect this to take place during the current financial year,” it said in its quarterly earnings statement.

Vodafone has been looking to list shares of its India unit for the past few years. Last year, it said it was moving ahead with the plan and that it had started preparing for the IPO.

Vodafone is India's second-largest mobile operator by number of users, after Bharti Airtel Ltd. Bharti is also the largest listed operator with a market value of Rs 121,080 crore (about $18.1 billion). 

Vodafone has never revealed the amount it plans to raise but, given the Indian unit’s size, its share sale could be one of the biggest in the country in recent times. Media reports have previously estimated the size of the IPO to be between Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 18,000 crore.

Also on Tuesday, the company said its mobile customers in India increased 2.8 million during the July-September quarter, taking the total to 201 million. 

The company’s India business has been facing headwinds after Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s business empire, started operations earlier this year.

The price war triggered by Reliance Jio prompted Vodafone to write down the value of its Indian business by 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion). This pushed Vodafone Group into the red; it posted a net loss by the same amount for the six months through September.

Reliance Jio’s entry had, in September, prompted Vodafone Group to inject Rs 47,700 crore ($7.1 billion) into its local unit to repay debt, purchase spectrum, expand its network and deploy next-generation technologies.

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