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Vodafone-Idea merger completes; both brands to continue

With this, the new entity Vodafone India Limited becomes India’s largest telecom service provider with over 408 million subscribers

Idea Cellular (being renamed as ‘Vodafone Idea Limited’) – an Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group partnership – has become operational as India’s leading telecom service provider with a subscriber base of over 408 million. 

With Balesh Sharma as the CEO, the company is projected to have a pan India revenue market share (AGR) of 32.2%.

The merger is expected to generate Rs 140 billion annual synergy, including opex synergies of Rs 84 billion, equivalent to a net present value of approximately Rs 700 billion. The equity infusion of Rs 67.5 billion at Idea and Rs 86 billion at Vodafone coupled with monetization of standalone towers of both companies for an enterprise value of Rs 78.5 billion, provides the company a strong cash balance of over Rs 193 billion post payout of Rs 39 billion to the DoT.  Additionally, the Company has an option to monetise an 11.15% stake in Indus, which would equate to a cash consideration of Rs 51 billion. As at 30 June 2018, net debt was Rs 1092 billion.

On the merger, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea Limited, said, “Today, we have created India’s leading telecom operator. It is truly a historic moment. And this is much more than just about creating a large business. It is about our Vision of empowering and enabling a New India and meeting the aspirations of the youth of our country. The “Digital India”, as our Honourable Prime Minister describes it, is a monumental nation building opportunity. As Vodafone Idea, we are partnering in this initiative by building a formidable company of international repute, scale and standards.”

Vodafone Idea believes that it will accelerate India’s progression towards a digital economy, enabling millions of citizens to connect to the digital revolution and build a better tomorrow. It will continue to offer a wide variety of digital services and solutions under both of its brands (Vodafone and Idea). Services - including Voice, Data, Mobile payments, IoT, advanced enterprise offerings and entertainment – will all be conveniently accessible via digital channels and extensive on-ground presence of 15,000 branded stores and 1.7 million retail touchpoints across the country.

Welcoming customers to India’s leading telecom network, Balesh Sharma, CEO, Vodafone Idea Limited, said, “As India’s leading telecom operator with two popular and loved brands, the company has the scale and resources to ensure sustainable customer choice and introduce new technologies. We are committed to offer both our retail and enterprise customers an excellent experience while fulfilling their evolving digital and connectivity needs via new products, services and solutions. We will offer them more network coverage, more value and more excitement. My team and I look forward to your continuing support and invite you to enjoy the Vodafone Idea experience.”

The merger brings together Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, two of India’s leading operators who played a key role in making mobile the most popular mode of communication and drove the telecom revolution across the country. The combined company is designed to be agile, digitally savvy and future fit. It is a professionally run world class organization, combining the best from both Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

With 1850 MHz of total spectrum holding, over 200,000 unique GSM sites and ~235,000 kms of fibre, the merged company offers superior voice and broadband connectivity across the country, covering 92% of the population and reaching nearly 500,000 towns and villages. This extensive infrastructure will allow customers to remain confidently connected across the country and enjoy uninterrupted services even as it integrates and optimizes its network in a phased manner across circles.

In addition to superior quality voice and data service experience, customers will enjoy a variety of digital services and solutions including mobile payments, Internet of Things (IoT), advanced enterprise offerings and entertainment, conveniently accessible via digital channels as well as extensive on-ground presence through ~15,000 branded outlets and ~1.7 million retail touchpoints across the country. Vodafone Idea will continue to invest in developing world-class infrastructure and introduce newer and smarter technologies - IoT, high speed and secure leased lines, digital wallets, MIMO and cloud services. As the trusted partner for Indian enterprises, it will empower businesses with future-ready products and services to help them scale up, become more efficient and tap new, emerging opportunities in the digital era.

The company draws on support from its two largest shareholders – Vodafone Group Plc and Aditya Birla Group – to drive excellence and value creation from this merger.

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