Shares of India’s Vodafone Idea tumble 24% as Kumar Mangalam Birla exits | Business


Aug 05, 2021, 07:08PM ISTSource:

Shares of India’s Vodafone Idea tumbled as much as 24% on Thursday, a day after the troubled telecom operator’s board accepted billionaire-industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla’s request to step down as non-executive chairman. Birla had engineered the merger of Idea Cellular, which was part of his Aditya Birla Group, and the India operations of Britain’s Vodafone Plc in 2018 to form Vodafone Idea, creating what was the country’s largest telecom operator at that time. Birla, who has a net worth of $14 billion according to Forbes, will be replaced by Aditya Birla Group-nominee Himanshu Kapania as non-executive chairman, Vodafone Idea said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday. The company declined to comment on why Birla sought to step down, and representatives at the Aditya Birla Group did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters. Vodafone has bled subscribers in recent years as it struggled to compete with Bharti Airtel and Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Jio. Compounding Vodafone’s woes, the Indian government sought roughly $13 billion from the country’s telecom operators in dues owed for the use of airwaves and as licence fees. Vodafone owed the majority share.

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