The remaining members of the consortium, including Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO), Sixth Street, Twin Point Capital and Varde Partners, though, they said, are strongly committed and likely to ink a binding pact with Vi by end-February, just ahead of the upcoming 4G spectrum auction, starting March 1.
“GoldenTree recently opted out of the lender consortium but the other foreign lenders are clearly interested and committed to closing the initial Rs 15,000 crore funding for Vi by the month-end,” a person close to the consortium told ET.
Oak Hill Advisors, as lead consortium member, is likely to take the biggest exposure for the proposed Rs 15,000 crore line of credit via hybrid convertible funding instruments, the second person cited said.
Vi shares closed 2.32% higher at Rs 11.01 on BSE Tuesday.
Vodafone Group Plc, GoldenTree and Oak Hill spokespersons declined comment.
Vi is likely to schedule a board meeting shortly to seek approvals on the quantum of initial funding and terms and conditions.
“If the telco (read: Vi) raises money via equity/convertible instruments, it will need to comply with FDI guidelines, whereas a debt funds raise will be under ECB norms if the loan is foreign currency-denominated,” said Abizer Diwanji, partner & national leader at E&Y.
Earlier this month, Vi’s top management, at the telco’s December quarter earnings call, said the upcoming fundraise capital would be used to boost 4G coverage in the 16 priority circles, which contribute to 94% of the telco’s revenues.
Last September, Vi had announced a Rs 25,000-crore fundraising plan via a mix of debt and equity. The $2-billion credit line it’s negotiating with the Oak Hill-led consortium is part of that plan. The telco—co-promoted by UK’s Vodafone Plc and the Aditya Birla Group—needs cash quickly to be more competitive on ground and also clear its Rs 50,400 crore dues to the government based on adjusted gross revenue in 10 annual instalments. Though it reported a narrower net loss in the December quarter, it continues to lose customers and its key parameters such as average revenue per user, minutes of use and subscriber base continue to trail Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio.
Emailed queries to Vi and Aditya Birla Group did not elicit any responses at press time.
The deadline for exclusive talks between Vi and the foreign lenders’ consortium to formalise funding terms was recently extended to February 28 from January 31.
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