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Vodafone moves ahead with India IPO plans
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

British telecom operator Vodafone Group Plc said on Tuesday it has started preparing for an initial public offering of its India unit, pushing ahead with a share sale it has been planning for a long time.

“We have recently begun preparations for a potential IPO of Vodafone India, subject to market conditions,” the company said in its earnings statement. The company, which is locked in a tax dispute with the Indian government, didn't elaborate.

Vodafone also said it added 4.4 million customers in the country during the first half of the fiscal year, taking the total to 188.2 million. The 3G customer base jumped 75 per cent to 23.8 million.

The company plans to launch fourth-generation services in five key telecom service areas in coming months, it said.

Vodafone is India's second-largest mobile operator by number of subscribers, after Bharti Airtel Ltd. Bharti is also the largest listed telecom operator with a market value of Rs 132,700 crore (about $20 billion).

Given Vodafone India's size, its IPO could be one of the biggest in the country in recent times. India's biggest IPO in three years is the share sale by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, operator of IndiGo airline, which raised about Rs 3,000 crore. Shares of InterGlobe listed on the bourses on Tuesday.

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